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China to Build More Aircraft Carriers: Report

A senior Chinese naval officer says Beijing plans to build more aircraft carriers, in the latest sign of China's rapid modernization of its military.

Song Xue, the deputy chief of staff of China's navy, told state media the country's next aircraft carrier needs to be larger and carry more fighter jets.

China already has one carrier, the Liaoning, a refitted Soviet-built vessel that went into commission in September, in what was a symbolic step for China's growing military prowess.

Song, whose comments appeared Wednesday in the official Xinhua news agency, did not say if the new carriers would be purchased or domestically built.

China's growing naval strength has raised concern among its neighbors, many of whom are involved in worsening disputes with Beijing over maritime territory.

Beijing has stressed that the expansion of its naval forces is no threat to its neighbors. It says the Liaoning will be used mainly for scientific research and training missions.

Although China has already conducted successful test landings of fighter jets on the Liaoning, the carrier is not expected to be fully operational for several years.

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