China to Display New and Upgraded Naval Vessels Amid S China Sea Tensions

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The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is planning to showcase its top tier vessels along with the newest additions to the fleet during a military parade set to take place between 22 and 25 April, Chinese Vice-Admiral Qiu Yanpeng said on Saturday.

“At this naval parade, the PLA Navy ships and aircraft to be revealed are the Liaoning aircraft carrier, new types of nuclear submarines, new types of destroyers, as well as fighter aircraft. Some ships will be revealed for the first time”, Qiu said.

The commander noted that a number of states were invited to the parade, which is intended to show that “the Chinese Navy has always been a peaceful force and will not pose a threat to any country”.

“The Chinese Navy has not brought war, turmoil or uneasiness to any part of the world. It has always understood peace, cherished peace and defended peace”, he said.

Earlier, naval analyst Li Jie told the South China Morning Post that along with the Liaoning, the first Type 001A aircraft carrier could be shown at the parade. While the Liaoning was based on an unfinished Russian Kuznetsov-class carrier, Type 001A was built domestically. The Liaoning, meanwhile, has recently undergone massive modifications, including to its superstructure.

Apart from carriers, the PLAN could showcase its newest 10,000-tonne Type 055 missile destroyers, which are capable of carrying some 120 missiles of various types, including surface-to-air, anti-ship, and anti-submarine missiles, as well as long-range cruise missiles. Type 075 amphibious ships might also participate in the event.

The parade is set to be held amid ongoing tensions between China and the US over the disputed South China Sea. Several states in the region claim sovereignty over its waters and islands, but Beijing currently controls most of the area. Washington doesn’t have any claims in the region, but regularly sends its naval vessels therein acts that Beijing has dubbed “provocations”.

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