China will show off its resurgent naval strength this week at a parade marking 60 years since the founding of its navy, presenting its fleet of warships and nuclear submarines as a force for peace, not aggression.
By Ben Blanchard and Lucy Hornby, BEIJING (Reuters)
The fleet parade marking the anniversary of the formation of the People’s Liberation Army navy will feature newer vessels on show off the northern port city of Qingdao.
Chinese navy commander Admiral Wu Shengli said the celebrations will show his nation as a force for “peace, harmony and cooperation” at sea, the Liberation Army Daily reported on Tuesday.
But the gathering of ships and submarines may be taken as a disquieting sign of Chinese assertion by other governments worried about sea boundary disputes and rivalry for resources.
Chinese commentators have speculated the government will use the celebrations to announce firmer plans to build an aircraft carrier, seen by many here as the badge of a mature naval power.
“Now our country’s economy has developed to this level, to protect national maritime rights and interests … we must have an aircraft carrier,” retired Chinese navy commander Shi Yunsheng, told Outlook Weekly, a Chinese current affairs magazine.
“The navy must continue developing in its current direction, expanding spending so that the navy corresponds to China’s status as a great power.”