Beijing - China will show off new warships including nuclear submarines and destroyers at a parade next week marking 70 years since its navy’s founding, a senior commander said on Saturday, as Beijing flexes its increasingly well-equipped military muscle.
President Xi Jinping is overseeing a sweeping plan to refurbish the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by developing everything from stealth jets to aircraft carriers as China ramps up its presence in the South China Sea and around self-ruled Taiwan. The navy has been a key beneficiary of the modernization plan as China looks to project power far from the country’s shores and protect its trading routes and citizens overseas. Last month, Beijing unveiled a target of 7.5% rise in defense spending for this year, a slower rate than last year but still outpacing China’s economic growth target.
Deputy naval commander Qiu Yanpeng told reporters in the eastern city of Qingdao that Tuesday’s naval parade - likely to be overseen by Xi himself, though China has not confirmed that - will feature 32 vessels and 39 aircraft: “The PLA Navy ship and aircraft to be revealed are the “Liaoning” aircraft carrier, new types of nuclear submarines, new types of destroyers, as well as fighter aircraft, - Qiu said, without giving details. - Some ships will be revealed for the first time.” The “Liaoning”, the country’s first carrier, was bought second-hand from Ukraine in 1998 and refitted in China.