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Xi: Build the navy to a world-class force
April 13, 2018, 12:56 pm

Chinese naval vessels have participated in several exercises in the South China Sea and in drills with the Russian navy [Courtesy: Russian Ministry of Defence]

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the navy to “unwaveringly accelerate its modernization” to become a world-class force.

“The task of building a strong navy has never been as urgent as it is today,” he said.

Xi was touring the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the South China Sea on Thursday.

Speaking from China’s sole aircraft carrier Liaoning, Xi said that the navy guarantees the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” as a parade of some 76 aircraft flew overhead.

The country’s first aircraft carrier, the Soviet-built Liaoning, was bought in 1998 and refitted in China.

The Liaoning was put into commission in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy in 2012.

Xi watched as the J-15 Shenyang (or Flying Shark) fighter jet took off and landed on the Liaoning.

The carrier-based J-15 has a maximum speed of 2,550 kph and a range of 3,500 kilometers.

It has been used in a number of live-fire exercises with the Liaoning in the South China Sea.

More than 48 naval vessels carrying some 10,000 men at arms were also included in the parade.

Maritime disputes between China on the one hand and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan on the other have caused tensions in the region and often led to a war of words between Beijing and Washington.

Beijing claims 90 per cent of the South China Sea, a maritime region believed to hold a wealth of untapped oil and gas reserves and through which roughly $4.5 trillion of ship-borne trade passes every year.

Beijing has long accused Washington of meddling in the South China Sea. The US conducts periodic air and naval patrols near the disputed islands that have angered Beijing.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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