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Al Jazeera English | Mar 27
Military tension is rising in Asia, and not just on the Korean peninsula. A Chinese naval task force has reached the southernmost part of the South...
Now onto China, where the People’s Liberation Army is expanding its navy. China says it will not seek to establish bases abroad, but that no bases policy doesn’t mean the country lacks ambition to be a force in the Pacific. CCTV’s China 24 reports building up the navy is strictly for national defense.
China’s nuclear submarines, the anti-ship ballistic missiles, and the making of its aircraft carrier - these are seen as the symbol of the country’s rising power. The People’s Liberation Army has emphasized its determination to modernize.
Col. Yang Yujun, Spokesman:
"The test of China’s aircraft carrier will be a very long process. And based on what’s needed, we have other further tests and training. The sea trials have met expectations. I hope we can rate it objectively and rationally."
The PLA has been focusing on upgrading its capabilities. Many Chinese experts believe that given the ongoing tensions in the South China Sea, the aircraft carrier seems to fit neatly into the strategy of protecting its territory. Senior Colonel Du Wenlong says the aircraft carrier provides a crucial platform for future operations.
Sr. Col. Du Wenlong:
"China is a country with a long coastline and territorial water. With its economic development, China needs to protect its interests overseas. This requires increasing its naval capability in the deep sea."
The Chinese navy has been more involved in the missions in the deep blue sea. It has taken part in escort missions along the Somalia coast and helped evacuate Chinese citizens from Libya in the faraway Mediterranean. It carried out military exercises in the Pacific Ocean. China stresses that the development of its naval strength is for peaceful purposes only.
Col. Yang Yujun, Spokesman:
"For the past few years, the PLA navy has put its focus on improving the modernization and capabilities of operations. It has been working to advance the transformation. But the navy’s strategy of offshore defense remains unchanged."
China believes that as time of change, unconventional security threats have increased globally, creating a need for further preparation. So building a stronger navy is seen as a necessary step in the country’s efforts to safeguard its interests. Han Bin, CCTV.
Some news reports say China is looking for an arrangement with the Seychelles Islands to set up a naval supply station. But China insists it will not be a military base.