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People's Daily Online

Aircraft carrier operations essential for China: expert

People's Daily Online

By Sun Wenyu (People's Daily Online) 16:03, December 26, 2016

"Aircraft carrier operations are indispensable for China," said Chinese military expert Li Jie in an interview with the Global Times on Dec. 25. Carriers are not offshore forces, and they must go to remote oceanic areas, Li added, noting the country's growing need for overseas interests protection.

According to China's Ministry of National Defense, the country's first domestically made aircraft carrier is expected to be finished in 2020. Beijing could build multiple aircraft carriers over the next 15 years, the Pentagon said in a report last year, while Reuters commented that China is years away from perfecting carrier operations similar to those the United States has practiced for decades.

Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the Global Times on Dec. 25 that, given its global deployment and presence, the U.S. Navy is the most advanced naval force in the world. Its overseas patrols can last up to 10 months, supported by its overseas military bases, Zhang noted.

Li believes U.S. dollars and aircraft carriers both contribute to the Navy's global influence. He told the Global Times that China has always been perceived as a mild country; its military growth has therefore been poorly received by the rest of the world. However, Li said that increased military presence is necessary for such a major power, and other countries need to get used to China's changed status.

Reuters commented that China's expanding military presence in the South China Sea has fueled concerns, and the U.S. even accuses China of militarizing its maritime outposts, holding regular air and naval patrols in the name of "freedom of navigation."

An anonymous source told the Global Times that military development is a sign of China's increasing ability to safeguard its sovereignty and territories, which also reflects the will of the people.

China's development has always been distorted by some media outlets. Nevertheless, in reality China's military research, production, equipment and drills are all guarantors of regional peace and stability.

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