January 18, 2014 10:02 pm JST

China has started building its own aircraft carrier: official

China now has one aircraft carrier, the Soviet-built Liaoning, which was refurbished in Dalian after it was acquired from Ukraine.

HONG KONG (Kyodo) -- China has started to build its first domestically produced aircraft carrier in the port city of Dalian in the northeastern province of Liaoning, the Liaoning party chief said Saturday.

     The online edition of the Hong Kong daily Ta Kung Pao said Liaoning communist party secretary Wang Min disclosed the project at a meeting of the provincial people's congress.

     This appears to be the first time that a Chinese official has confirmed the existence of a Chinese domestic aircraft carrier building program.
The Chinese media reported last month that China will start building an aircraft carrier in Dalian this year and another in Shanghai. But government authorities have never confirmed plans to build one in Shanghai.

     Wang told the provincial people's congress that it would take six years to finish building the aircraft carrier and the Chinese military plans to have four aircraft carriers in the future.

     China currently has one aircraft carrier, the Soviet-built Liaoning, which was refurbished in Dalian after it was acquired from Ukraine.
China says the Liaoning, which was put into service in 2012, will be used for training and research as part of its plans to develop a domestic aircraft carrier building program.
next year.