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Nation can deal with any attacks by carriers

CHINA is more than capable of handling any threats posed by aircraft carriers, according a former top naval officer.

An aircraft carrier is only a strategic base at sea, Zhao Xingfa, China's former naval vice commander, told Beijing News yesterday.

"If aircraft carriers from other countries were used to attack Chinese territory, we are capable of handling them," he said.

"After disputes with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands broke out, the Philippines recently claimed territorial sovereignty over the Huangyan and Nansha islands which have always been part of the Chinese territory," he said.

"The Philippines wished to include the islands in its territory. We must not give way, otherwise, in addition to the territorial sea boundaries, the boundary line for the exclusive economic zones wouldn't be there anymore," Zhao said.

"Vietnam is talking about the Beibu Bay everyday. For these kind of issues, I think we should solve them as quickly as possible," he said, adding that a stable situation should be maintained in the South China Sea.

Zhao also made it clear that no information about a domestically produced aircraft carrier would be announced at the naval review in Qingdao on April 23, and no aircraft carrier would make its debut at the event to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Liberation Army Navy.

The pace for the development of a domestic aircraft carrier wouldn't be that fast, he said.

Zhao also implied that a second batch of Chinese navy warships was ready to replace the first three ships carrying out escort missions off Somalia, based on the situation there and whatever decision the United Nations made next.

He called for fuller investigations of the sea around China.


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