China ‘needs three aircraft carriers’: Naval expert

China needs “at least three aircraft carriers” to protect its extensive coastline and its interests abroad, a senior Chinese naval expert said Wednesday. “Our country has an 18,000-kilometre (11,000-mile) long coastline. Also, our economy is outward looking and our interests abroad are growing,” said Commodore Zhang Junshe, a member of the Naval Research Institute.

“All this requires us to send a military force to distant seas to protect (these interests). In these circumstances, I think we need at least three aircraft carriers. Of course, depending on economic development, we could legitimately revise this figure upwards,” he said during a meeting with the Chinese and foreign press.

In November, the English-language China Daily, citing the official Xinhua news agency, said the Asian giant had begun construction of a third aircraft carrier. The defence ministry has not confirmed this.  Read More

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