will have an “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 citedcommander 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 themouthpiece .
Xu’s remarks came on the day theannounced 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
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