A People's Liberation Army Navy official has confirmed for the first time that China is building its second aircraft carrier, reports Duowei News, a US-based Chinese political news outlet.
Ding Haichun, a deputy political commissar of the PLA Navy, acknowledged during an interview with Hong Kong media on March 8 that China's second aircraft carrier is currently under construction and will be more advanced than the country's first carrier, the Liaoning, which was retrofitted from the Soviet-era carrier Varyag and commissioned in September 2012.
Once the industrial manufacturing department has completed construction, the carrier will be handed over to the PLA Navy to commence training, Ding said.
Naval power and electrical engineering specialist Ma Weiming added that China's catapult launch technology has absolutely no problems and can compete with that of the United States.
When questioned by reporters, former PLA Navy political commissar Liu Xiaojiang refused to confirm media speculation that the second aircraft carrier would commcence sea trials as early as this year, noting that the manufacturing process and schedule is highly complex.
Liu admitted he is uncertain just how many aircraft carriers the country intends to build. While some have claimed as many as six carriers are needed to safeguard China's territorial sovereignty and interests abroad, Liu said the answer will ultimately lie in how much research and development funding is available.