MAMOSA Report — China’s economic outreach program called the “New Silk Road” needs supportive maritime security envelope – from South China Sea in the northwest to the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea in the southeast.
Its oil import and most of its export pass through this 13,000km or so vast sea lane.
Therefore, cash-rich Beijing wants to protect its territories and overseas interests by enhancing its maritime visibility in the region.
Li Jie, a naval military expert, was quoted by the Global Times newspaper on 21 February as saying that China needs two carrier strike groups in the West Pacific Ocean and two in the Indian Ocean. “So we need at least five to six aircraft carriers.”
“It will be used to tackle the complicated situations in the South China Sea,” the naval expert said.
According to Sultan Hali, a security and defense analyst, “China apparently does not have either hegemonic designs or is interested in imperialism since it suffered the ignominy of being occupied by various imperialist powers till it achieved independence in 1949.”
According to the Chinese media, China is close to completing its second aircraft carrier, which will begin service by 2020.
Chinese state-owned media have reported that the country’s third aircraft carrier is also under construction, according to IHS Jane’s.
Li Jie said the carrier, commonly known as the Type 002, will be “entirely different” from China’s previous carriers and that it will look like a “US aircraft carrier rather than a Russian one”.
China’s first carrier, Liaoning, is a Soviet-era Admiral Kuznetsov-class carrier acquired from Ukraine and commissioned in 2012, while the Type 001A, China’s first indigenously built carrier, is a follow-on from the Liaoning design.