, BEIJING, Apr 24 – China is planning a second and larger aircraft carrier, state media on Wednesday quoted a senior naval officer as saying, after commissioning its first such ship last year.
“China will have more than one aircraft carrier,” said Song Xue, deputy chief of staff of China’s navy, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
“We hope the next aircraft carrier can be bigger, because then it would be able to carry more aircraft and be more powerful,” he told foreign military attaches in Beijing at a ceremony Tuesday to celebrate the 64th anniversary of the founding of China’s navy.
“This is our goal,” he added.
Song apparently provided no details on whether the vessel would be constructed or purchased, though according to Xinhua he dismissed foreign media reports that China is building new aircraft carriers in Shanghai as inaccurate.
China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, went into service in September in what was a symbolic milestone for China’s growing military muscle.
Beijing purchased the carrier from Ukraine before refurbishing it. The vessel had originally been commissioned by the former Soviet Union, but work halted with its collapse.
The Liaoning – named after a northeastern Chinese province – is not expected to be fully operational for several years, although late last year China conducted the first landing of a fighter jet on the vessel.