China is forging ahead with the construction of its third aircraft carrier in under a decade, highlighting the scale of Beijing’s maritime ambitions.
Quite reasonably, others have wondered why China is proceeding with the development of Type 002 without waiting to benefit from the logistical and engineering experience from completing Type 001A.
A series of satellite images from the Jiangnan shipyard, recently published by a China-focused think tank, shed light on the ongoing construction of China’s Type 002 carrier.
The images reveal a typical military vessel construction site, replete with a floodable basin and multiple sluice gates.
While the haziness of the photos makes it difficult to discern the carrier’s dimensions, the hull appears to measure forty meters in width by forty-eight meters in length. If prior reports are accurate, Type 002 will be larger and much heavier than its predecessors at a displacement of up to eighty-five thousand tons versus the sixty thousand to seventy thousand tons. The carrier is widely expected to feature a conventional propulsion system, though other technical details remain scant.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the Type 002’s development is the breakneck speed at which it is being produced and transferred to the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), with its commission set for 2022. Type 002’s most recent predecessor, Type 001A, was laid down in 2013 and is still undergoing sea trials. Even China’s oldest aircraft carrier, the Type 001 Liaoning, was only declared battle-ready as late as 2016, on the heels of a tortured acquisition and retrofit process.
Rapid growth in China post-COVID makes it ripe for investment
Being “first in and first out” of COVID-19, China is the only country among the G20 that is thought by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to have increased GDP in 2020.
In January 2020 as the world began to learn of COVID-19, many market observers predicted a challenging year for Asia. While there continue to be headwinds from the health and economic crisis, Asia, and China in particular, has demonstrated comparatively advantageous resilience.
Mainland China is in no position to take Taiwan by force
Unlike his predecessors, Chinese President Xi Jinping has demonstrated greater intensity in the desire for reunification.
The situation across the Taiwan Strait has seemed to be on the brink of crisis since 2018. Beijing has sent numerous sorties of military aircraft to conduct exercises near Taiwan and frequently crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.
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