China launches third aircraft carrier, named after the province opposite Taiwan

The Chinese flag is seen in this illustration taken on May 30, 2022. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

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BEIJING, June 17 (Reuters) – China on Friday launched its third national design and construction aircraft carrier, Fujian, which is named after the province in front of self-governing Taiwan, sending a statement of intent to rivals while modernize his army.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made the review of the world’s largest armed forces a central part of his agenda, seeking to project power far beyond China’s shores, although the government says no. has no hostile intent.

Champagne, colored ribbons, water cannons and smoke were deployed to celebrate the launch and official naming of the new carrier at a ceremony at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, state media reported.

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Dozens of Navy personnel lined up in front of the ship and sang the national anthem at the ceremony, which was attended by senior officials, including Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.

The aircraft carrier has a long-haul flight deck with a catapult launch system, according to state media.

Fujian will join Shandong, which was put into service in late 2019, and Liaoning, which China bought second-hand in Ukraine in 1998 and settled nationwide.

China is still perfecting its ability to operate carriers and integrate them into battle groups, something the United States has been doing for decades.

Only the United States, with 11 aircraft carriers, has more ships. Classified just below China, Britain has two in operation.

The launch of Fujian demonstrates the growing capability of the military at a time of growing tension with the United States over Taiwan claimed by the Chinese and Beijing’s claims to the South China Sea.

The new carrier was named after the coastal province of Fujian, on the other side of the Taiwan Strait from Taiwan and the headquarters of the Eastern People’s Liberation Army Theater Command.

Taiwan is a thriving democracy, but China considers the island its own territory and has never given up the use of force to bring it under its control.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters about the new carrier that it “attaches great importance” to China’s military developments.

Taiwan “incorporates this into the investigation of the enemy’s situation in a prospective manner, uses innovative asymmetric thinking and actively develops countermeasures to effectively implement the military strategy of defensive persistence and strong deterrence,” he added.

Taiwan controls two groups of islands that are geographically part of Fujian and are located off its coast – Kinmen and Matsu – and which, during the Cold War plenum, were regularly bombed by China.

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Report by Ryan Woo and Martin Pollard; Additional report by Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard in Taipei; edited by Richard Pullin and Stephen Coates

Our standards: Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.

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