Liaoning aircraft carrier

Defence ministry dismisses rumours of second aircraft carrier

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 September, 2012, 8:37am

The Ministry of Defence yesterday dismissed media speculation that it was building a second aircraft carrier in Shanghai and that it would be launched late this year.

"Such reports are inaccurate," ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said at yesterday's regular press briefing.

Meanwhile, Yang remained tight-lipped about where the country's first aircraft carrier - the Liaoning - may be based.

Such information could hint at which People's Liberation Army fleet the carrier is assigned to.

Some analysts have suggested that the Liaoning may not be assigned to any fleet, in order to avoid being associated with territorial disputes in the East China and South China seas.

When asked to confirm reports that the navy would create an aircraft carrier formation in the future, Yang said: "A formation is generally made up of an aircraft carrier itself, escort vessels, submarines and aircraft.

"China will study the issue in accordance with the development and real needs of the aircraft carrier."

Asked whether there were any plans to build an aircraft carrier base in the eastern city of Qingdao - the base of the PLA's North Sea Fleet - Yang sidestepped the question, saying: "That depends on the progress of testing and training."

When further pressed on whether the Liaoning would be assigned to the North Sea Fleet, Yang replied: "I have no information to announce on that."

Formerly an incomplete Soviet carrier known as the Varyag, the Liaoning arrived from Ukraine in March 2002 and later underwent seven years of refitting in a Dalian shipyard in Liaoning province.

It was formally delivered to the navy on Wednesday.