Speculation grows on China aircraft carrier plans

China will have an aircraft carrier “very soon,” a top Chinese naval officer told a newspaper published Friday, fueling speculation over a pending official announcement on the long-awaited project.

The Global Times newspaper cited east China fleet commander Adm. Xu Hongmeng as saying China possessed both the ability and motivation to build a carrier — a weapon system that is strongly backed by the navy but somewhat less enthusiastically by the People’s Liberation Army’s top commanders.

“China really needs a carrier. Both technologically and economically, China already has the capacity to build a carrier,” said Xu, who was quoted while attending the national legislature’s annual session in Beijing on Thursday.

“China will very soon have its own aircraft carrier,” he told the paper, published by the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily.

Xu’s remarks came on the day the central government announced its 2009 budget, including a 14.9 percent rise in military spending this year to 480.68 billion yuan ($70.27 billion). No breakdown of the defense budget was provided.

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200
90306/ap_on_re_as/as_china_navy_2

Related:
China’s Growing Naval Reach May Cause Worries
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Piracy draws China back to the ranks of maritime giants
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 What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?
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China Launching First Long-Range Naval Mission Since 15th Century

General Hints China’s Navy May Add Carrier

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