China Launches 2 Powerful Naval Destroyers

Foreign Affairs

New Delhi: As part of its exercise to boost its naval strength and become a major maritime power, China on December 28 launched two powerful naval destroyers.

It was also building a massive pier at the Djibouti naval base in the Indian Ocean to dock its aircraft carriers, and with 2019 being described as the “year of harvest” for the Chinese military, which has acquired a whole range of modern weapons.

China has been adding new naval ships on a monthly basis.

The two warships are its Type 055 and Type 052D guided missile destroyers, state-run Global Times reported on December 30. The ships would be ready for operations in about two years.

Since it rejigged the military doctrine in 2013, the military has reduced the size of the army by three lakh troops and resorted to massive expansion of navy to extend China’s influence and global reach.

A late entrant to the operation of aircraft carriers, China on December 17 launched its second aircraft carrier, Shandong which is bigger than the first one called Liaoning, a refit of the Soviet era ship, commissioned in 2012.

China plans to acquire about five to six aircraft carriers in the coming years, according to state media reports.

Meanwhile, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Col Wu Qian has confirmed reports that China is building a 400 metre-long pier at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa to dock its aircraft carriers there.

“The construction of relevant facilities is progressing as planned,” he said, answering a question whether it was meant for aircraft carriers.

“The construction and use of the facilities is to better fulfill China’s international obligations in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia, such as escort missions and humanitarian assistance. It will help China make new and greater contributions to maintaining peace and stability in Africa and the world,” he said.

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