Ramping up its shipbuilding efforts, China hopes to add two new domestically produced aircraft carriers to its blue-water fleet, the South China Morning Post reported Saturday.
The advanced Type 002 carrier is in the final stages of development, with Beijing hoping it will be seaworthy by the end of next year. Equipped with "the world's most advanced" Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, the ship will likely measure up with the U.S. Navy's state-of-the-art Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier.
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Modernizing the People's Liberation Army Navy has long been a key feature of the Xi regime's "Chinese Dream" of a strengthened role in world politics. China aims to have six aircraft battle groups ready for cruise by 2035.
It is essential for defense planning to "step up efforts to build China into a strong maritime country," Chinese president Xi Jinping told the 19th National Party Congress in 2017.
The aggressive posture of China's Navy comes in part to counter Washington's decreasing tolerance for China's repeated violations of international law and territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea.
Beijing has built thousands of acres of artificial islands near shipping chokepoints and continues to display belligerent tendencies toward neighbors such as Taiwan and Vietnam. A special report on Monday from Reuters further outlined developments in China's amphibious military capabilities, which bolster the country's prospects of invading Taiwan.
"We make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means," Xi said on the possibility of Taiwanese unification.
Increased global ambitions and hostile regional activity from the CCP have been met with a stark response from Washington in recent weeks. FBI director Christopher Wray, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, multiple senators, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper have made repudiating China's actions in both internal and foreign affairs a sticking point in public remarks.
Beijing does not pause to engage in "regularly disrespecting the rights of other nations," Esper said Tuesday.