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Chinese navy's growth 'warranted'
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11:08, April 23, 2009

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China's own aircraft carrier will not come as a surprise to the world, as its navy's growth in recent years was "expected and warranted", naval generals attending the celebrations to mark the force's 60th anniversary said Tuesday.

As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, China should strive to build an even stronger navy to safeguard its growth, they said.

Rear Admiral Anurag Gopalan Thapliyal, commander of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian navy, said: "A Chinese aircraft carrier is a valid requirement for the country."

"The Chinese navy deserves a very important place in the world because it is a large country with a long coastline and vast waters to look after," Thapliyal told China Daily after his meeting with Tian Zhong, commander of the Chinese navy's North China Sea Fleet, headquartered in Qingdao.

Australian commander Simon Brown, captain of the HMAS Success tanker, which joins the hosts and 14 other countries in China's first major international fleet review, said China's navy has expectedly grown. It is not just a defense force that is growing, but a country that's on the rise, both economically and externally.

In his keynote speech at a high profile symposium themed "Harmonious Seas", Admiral Wu Shengli, Chinese naval chief, stressed that the expansion of the country's force was focused on maintaining peace and stability.

Military leaders of China and the United States also decided to put aside disagreements and abide by the international law in maritime waters.

Tensions between the two navies rose last month when Chinese naval vessels intercepted a US naval surveillance ship in the South China Sea. The two sides exchanged different viewpoints with regard to maritime territorial rights.

On the basis of mutual respect and benefits, the Chinese navy is willing to make joint efforts with the US to properly handle disputes and sensitive issues in accordance with the agreement made by the heads of the two countries, said Defense Minister Liang Guanglie during his meeting with Admiral Gary Roughead, the US Chief of Naval Operations.

Roughead, who also attended the symposium, told reporters he and his Chinese counterpart had agreed to rest their differences on the interpretation of the international law.

Speaking of China's plans for an aircraft carrier, Roughead said his main focus was how China intended to use the vessel.

Vice-Admiral Ding Yiping, Chinese navy's deputy commander, said nuclear submarines would appear for review tomorrow, the first known public appearance of its most potent sea-borne weaponry.

Source: China Daily

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