China launched its largest and most advanced aircraft carrier on Friday, marking a significant military achievement for the Asian giant.
China’s carrier development programme is part of President Xi Jinping’s plan to transform the People’s Liberation Army into a “fully modern” force capable of competing with the US military by 2027.However, it will be years before the Fujian is operational. It is unknown when it will be put into operation.
China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited’s third aircraft carrier has a displacement of more than 80,000 tonnes and is equipped with electromagnetic catapults and arresting gear.
In 2012, the Liaoning was commissioned, and the Shandong followed in 2019.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, China struck an unusual security deal with the Solomon Islands, which caught Washington and its allies off guard and stoked suspicions of a Chinese military station in the Pacific.
The Shandong was the first Chinese-built aircraft carrier.
Wei Fenghe, China’s defence minister, warned his American colleague last week that Beijing would not back down.
According to official Chinese media, China aims to have roughly five aircraft carriers. China is planning to develop a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier as its next project.