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China speeds up naval forces expansion

Taipei, Feb. 17 (CNA) In light of President Xi Jinping's vision to build a "strong nation" and establish a new "maritime silk road", China have been rapidly expanding its naval forces. The hastened pace of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) naval expansion became more apparent as the tensions rise in South China Sea and Diaoyutai Island territorial disputes. At the same time, the U.S. had also declared its intent to reestablish its strategic presence in the Asia-Pacific. The list of new PLA navy vessels rumored to be in the works include China's second aircraft carrier, new destroyers equipped with the Aegis Combat System, nuclear submarines, and large landing helicopter dock amphibious assault ships. According to Jane's Defense Weekly, China naval forces is estimated to encompass 235,000 personnel, 56 submarines, 970 naval vessels and 468 aircraft. China's naval strategic assets include its Liaoning aircraft carrier, and its JL-2 second-generation intercontinental-range submarine-launched ballistic missiles and DF-41 nuclear solid-fueled road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles. In addition, China's fleet of Aegis Weapon System-equipped vessels will outnumber Japan's by 1.5 times by the end of 2015. China's long range naval operations have also began reaching for further shores, and its fleet have received permission to resupply at ports in Myanmar, Pakistan, Oman, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, China's greatly increased naval power projection capabilities have caused rising tension in neighboring India. Speculations on the motives behind China's rapid naval forces expansion include it's wish to establish a blue-water navy capable of operating across the deep waters of open oceans, and its ambition to establish a naval presences in the East and South China Seas capable of matching U.S. efforts. (By Charles Kang and Ted Chen)

Updated : 2021-09-23 17:10 GMT+08:00