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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan keeping eye on sea trials of China's aircraft carrier

ROC Central News Agency

012/06/10 16:34:54

Taipei, June 10 (CNA) Taiwan is paying close attention to the development of China's first aircraft carrier, including its sea trails, a defense official said Sunday as the trails have reportedly become more frequent recently.

"(We) have been closely monitoring issues related to the development (of China's aircraft carrier)," Ministry of National Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he told CNA.

Luo's remarks came after China's media reported that the "Varyag," a refurbished Soviet craft bought from Ukraine, began the eighth sea trials June 7, a few days after it completed the previous trail.

The aircraft carrier set sail for its inaugural sea trail last August.

Asked about China's development in the field, Luo said, "we have many contingency measures in place," but declined to further explain the matter.

Analysts have estimated that China is likely to commission the aircraft carrier next year, according to the ministry.

Locally developed anti-ship Hsiung Feng (Brave Wind) III missile is an important part of Taiwan's arsenal at a time when China is modernizing its naval fleet and preparing to commission its first aircraft carrier.

With a range of some 150 kilometers, the supersonic missile is dubbed the "aircraft carrier killer."

National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai De-sheng said during a recent legislative session that China's first aircraft carrier will be used for training in the early stage of its commission.

But he did not rule out the possibility of the aircraft carrier being used as a warship, if necessary.

Tsai also noted that China has plans to build two aircraft carriers. One is expected to be completed in 2020, with the other in 2022, he added.

(By Elaine Hou)

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