This file picture, taken on November 11, 2014, shows a Chinese J-31 stealth fighter performing at the Airshow China 2014 in Zhuhai, south China. (By AFP)
Senior Chinese military officials say their navy has been equipped with advanced hardware and is being upgraded to the highest global level.
Senior military officers told the official Xinhua news agency late on Thursday that the Chinese navy had put into service its new-generation J-20 stealth fighter. The aircraft was publicly unveiled at the Zhuhai airshow in November last year.
Wang Weiming, the deputy chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, said China was speeding up the development of its marine corps, adding destroyers and frigates, to step up air and sea patrols in its territories.
“Our sailors should stay vigilant and be able to deal with emergencies at all times,” Wang said, adding, “We will intercept any intruding aircraft and follow every military vessel in areas under our responsibility.”
Wang added that China’s second aircraft carrier was in “good shape” and was now awaiting fitting.
Wang Huayong, the deputy political commissar of the Eastern Theater Command, said, that, “The aircraft carrier is still in training and trial stage.”
This image shows a Chinese Harbin destroyer docked at the Shuwaikh Port in Kuwait City, Kuwait, on February 1, 2017. (By AFP)
Experts expect that the second domestically-built aircraft carrier will enter service around 2020, joining China’s existing, Soviet-built aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
Wang emphasized that Chinese forces were being upgraded for defensive purposes only.
Li Yanming, the political commissar of the Navy’s armaments department, said marine forces would be provided with equipment that had “better quantity, quality, scope, and functionality.”
China’s “first-class navy should be equipped with first-class armaments,” Li said.
Beijing earlier announced that it would increase its defense budget to meet its economic development and defense needs amid “outside meddling,” a likely reference to frequent political and military jockeying by the United States in regional disputes involving China.
China is engaged in a territorial dispute with its neighbors in the South China Sea, where they have overlapping claims of sovereignty to a series of islands and reefs. Beijing is also entangled in a similar territorial dispute with Japan in the East China Sea.
In both cases, the United States has been fueling tensions between China and its neighbors by siding with Beijing’s rivals.

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