China to develop sophisticated marine weapons

Beijing, April 18 (Inditop) Large surface combat ships, supersonic cruise aircraft, high-speed intelligent torpedoes – these are a few sophisticated marine weapons China plans to build.

“The Navy will move faster in researching and building new-generation weapons to boost the ability to fight in regional sea wars under the circumstance of information technology,” Admiral Wu Shengli, Chinese Navy commander, has said.

In addition to ships, aircraft and torpedoes, long-range missiles with high accuracy, submarines with superb invisibility and endurance and electronic weapons and facilities are also on the Navy’s agenda, Wu told Xinhua in an interview a few days ahead of the 60th anniversary of the the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

He said the Navy would have more equipment for offshore repair, high-seas dispatch, large-scale rescue and supply among others.

According to Wu, the Navy will incorporate the capacity for non-war military actions to the integrated construction of the army’s power, especially emergency offshore search and rescue and anti-terrorism activities.

Since 2003, President Hu Jintao has repeatedly inspected the country’s navy and made suggestions on its construction.

He has been stressing that China has huge strategic benefits in sea areas and current threats to the country’s security come mostly from the seas.

Admiral Wu said regrouping the army system, optimising army structure and distribution in battlefields were among the issues for more discussion during the new round of the navy construction.

In 2009, the Chinese Navy would continue its missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast to protect merchant vessels against spreading piracy, according to the official.

The Gulf of Aden is one of the world’s busiest shipping routes, in which about 1,000 Chinese vessels pass through each year.

Previous reports said more than 40 naval vessels will join a grand international fleet April 23 in a display to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PLA Navy.

The navies of 15 countries have pledged to send ships to the east port city of Qingdao as part of the celebrations and at least 28 foreign countries will send delegations, said the officer with the Navy’s headquarters.

Wu said the celebrations will be an opportunity for foreign navies to have intensive and close observation of the PLA Navy’s facilities and personnel.

China, earlier this year, announced a 480.68-billion-yuan ($70.36-billion) military budget for the year 2009, a rise by 14.9 percent compared to that of 2008. It did not give a breakdown of the defence budget.