Chinese officials have confirmed that the country is currently building a second aircraft carrier, say local media.
The People’s Daily, the Communist party mouthpiece, quoted top officials as confirming the craft’s construction. The ship is reportedly being built in a shipyard in the northeastern city of Dalian, where China’s first carrier, the Liaoning, was refitted before going into service in 2012.
Until now the military has tried to keep the second carrier a secret and at least two reports in Chinese media about the ship have been censored.
According to Taiwan Focus News Channel, the initial report cited Liu Xiaojiang, the former political commissioner of the PLA Navy, as saying that the “government's industrial and manufacturing agencies are now in charge of the ship's construction.”
The report also cited Ding Haichun, who was promoted to the position of deputy political commissioner of the PLA Navy back in January, as confirming that China’s second aircraft carrier is under construction.
The former political commissar of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Liu Xioajiang told the Hong Kong Commercial Daily that a second aircraft carrier's construction is now in the hands of governmental agencies
Liu also hinted that Beijing's second carrier, which would be China's first indigenously produced carrier, was only the start of the nation's maritime ambitions.
China's second carrier is expected to be a significant upgrade over China
's current Liaoning carrier
. The Liaoning is a 302-meter former Soviet vessel capable of carrying 50 aircraft or helicopters. Although the carrier's size is daunting, the Liaoning is a 25-year-old vessel that's prone to mechanical problems. It's more of a test carrier than an actual tool for Chinese force projection.