China launches “Fujian”, its third and newest aircraft carrier

China has launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier, the most advanced of its fleet of three aircraft carriers and another indication of Beijing’s interest in pursuing a naval presence beyond its own region.

Dubbed the “Fujian” after the Chinese province, it was launched on Friday at a ceremony in Shanghai, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Fujian uses an electromagnetic catapult-assisted launch system, similar to the US Navy’s newer aircraft carriers. It is considered an improvement on the ski-jump-style launch system found on other Chinese aircraft carriers, Liaoning and Shandong.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy is numerically the largest in the world with an overall combat force of about 355 ships and submarines, including about more than 145 major surface combatants, U.S. Navy officials have acknowledged. in their 2021 analysis of Beijing’s military and security developments.

The Fujian moves more than 80,000 tons. By comparison, the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln displaces about 97,000 tons fully loaded.

The United States regularly identifies China as its “pace challenge” and has said it is shifting its military focus to the Indo-Pacific theater. In recent years, Washington has sought to develop partnerships with other countries in the region, such as Australia and India, to counter Beijing’s growing economic and military influence.

China also continues to press its claims on Taiwan’s self-governing democracy and has said it would be willing to mount a military operation to control the island.

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Post expires at 9:03am on Tuesday June 28th, 2022