BEIJING (AP) -- China is building its second aircraft carrier, this time entirely with domestic technology, its Defense Ministry said Thursday.
Ministry spokesman Col. Yang Yujun told reporters at a news conference that the 50,000-ton vessel is being built in the northern port of Dalian.
China currently operates one aircraft carrier that was purchased as an incomplete hull from Ukraine more than a decade ago and then armed and equipped in China. That carrier has yet to take on its full aviation complement.
Yang said the second carrier is being built entirely with domestic technology but has drawn on China's experience refitting its first carrier, the Liaoning.
China is also steadily adding cutting-edge frigates, destroyers and nuclear submarines to its fleet. Its rapid naval modernization is seen as aimed at asserting its maritime claims and extending its power far from its shores. Those ambitions have raised tensions with Japan, the U.S. and Southeast Asian nations with rival territorial claims.
China claims sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea, which is home to key shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds and a potential wealth of mineral resources.