Tue, Feb 03, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Second aircraft carrier story squelched in China

AFP, BEIJING

A firm has won a contract to supply cabling for a second Chinese aircraft carrier, comments by local authorities suggested, in the latest sign that Beijing is boosting its maritime power — although news of the development was swiftly deleted online.

Authorities in Changzhou said on a verified social media account that “in 2015, our city will focus on promoting some major programs,” including Jiangsu Shangshang Cable Group (江蘇上上電纜集團) “winning the contract for China’s second aircraft carrier.”

The Changzhou Evening News carried a similar report over the weekend, although both the newspaper article and the post on Sina Weibo were deleted shortly after publication. Neither report gave details of the ship.

China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was purchased from Ukraine in 1998 and was commissioned in 2012.

Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy Deputy Chief of Staff Song Xue (宋學) said in April 2013 that the country “will have more than one aircraft carrier,” but left the timing open.

In a subsequent leak, the Chinese Communist Party secretary of Liaoning Province, where China’s first aircraft carrier is based, said the country was already working on a second ship to be completed around 2020.

Propaganda authorities ordered that all reports of his remarks be deleted, according to the US-based China Digital Times, which monitors censorship in China.

Chinese nationalist commentators quickly responded to the latest reports, calling yesterday for more aircraft carriers to be built in the face of “Western-backed provocations.”

“China is now the world’s second-largest economy, but its only flattop is a training ship rebuilt from an ex-Soviet aircraft carrier,” an opinion piece in the Global Times said. “This is no match to the country’s economic strength.”

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