(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
BEIJING - China is ready to build larger aircraft carriers having mastered the technical ability to do so, a major state-run newspaper said on Friday ahead of the release of the country's annual defense budget.
President Xi Jinping pledged in October to turn China's military into a world-class fighting force by 2050 and has made new technology development a key policy plank, investing in stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and missiles.
China already has one operational carrier, the second-hand Soviet-era Liaoning bought from Ukraine in 1998, and is carrying out tests on its first indigenously built carrier, launched last year and expected to enter service in 2020.
Liu Zheng, chairman of Dalian Shipbuilding Industry in Liaoning province, said his company and its parent, China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, the world's largest shipbuilder, could design and build carriers.
"We have complete ownership of the expertise, in terms of design, technology, technique, manufacturing and project management, that is needed to make an advanced carrier," Liu told the official China Daily ahead of Monday's opening of the annual session of parliament.
"We are ready to build larger ones," he said.