(Reuters) – China is building its second aircraft carrier, which is expected to take six years, and the country aims to have at least four such ships, Chinese and Hong Kong media reports said on Sunday.
After two decades of double-digit increases in the military budget, China’s admirals plan to develop a full blue-water navy capable of defending growing economic interests as well as disputed territory in the South and East China Seas.
The country’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning – a Soviet-era ship bought from Ukraine in 1998 and re-fitted in a Chinese shipyard – has long been a symbol of China’s naval build-up.
Successfully operating the 60,000-tonne Liaoning is the first step in what state media and some military experts believe will be the deployment of locally built carriers by 2020.
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