PLA’s Fujian aircraft carrier poses ‘substantial threat’, Taiwanese defence ministry warns

The People’s Liberation Army’s third and most advanced aircraft carrier, the Fujian, would pose a “substantial threat” to Taiwan in the event of a cross-strait conflict, the island’s defence ministry has warned.

Releasing its latest biennial report on Tuesday, the ministry also sounded a warning over the PLA’s rapid expansion of its coastal airbases facing Taiwan, including three from where warplanes could fly to Taipei within minutes.

“Unlike the CV16 and CV17 …, the Fujian shows that the Chinese Communists are entering the stage of constructing their first flat-top battle group, meaning they are preparing for far-sea [combat] operations,” ministry spokesman Major General Huang Wen-chi said, referring to the hull numbers of the Liaoning and the Shandong – the PLA carriers currently in operation.

China’s giant Fujian aircraft carrier on track for ‘2025 PLA handover’

“This will pose a substantial threat to our naval defence in the future,” Huang said in Taipei on Tuesday, following the release of the 2023 National Defence Report.

The Taiwanese military must actively find ways to tackle this challenge, he added.

Built by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, the 80,000 tonne-class Fujian is the first PLA aircraft carrier to be equipped with an electromagnetic aircraft launch system.


This makes the “supercarrier” more advanced than the Liaoning and Shandong, which are smaller and use less-efficient ski-jump ramps to assist aircraft take-offs.

The Fujian – named after the mainland province closest to Taiwan – is preparing to undergo its first sea trials, latest photos posted online by military buffs suggested, showing the covers had been removed from all three advanced electromagnetic catapults on its flight deck. The warship is likely to be handed over to the PLA in 2025, though an official announcement has yet to be made.

plas fujian aircraft carrier poses substantial threat taiwanese defence ministry warns


Chinese navy practises aerial combat as it prepares its newest aircraft carrier for operations

Chinese navy practises aerial combat as it prepares its newest aircraft carrier for operations

Beijing, which sees Taiwan as its territory and has not renounced the use of force to bring it under control, has ramped up military pressure on the island since Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party was elected president in 2016.

Tsai has refused to accept the cross-strait 1992 Consensus on the “one-China principle” reached by an earlier Beijing-friendly Kuomintang administration, and has also increased engagement with the United States – a key arms supplier to Taiwan.

PLA operations around Taiwan have intensified since then-US House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in August last year – a high-level exchange viewed by Beijing as a violation of its sovereignty and a breach of Washington’s “one-China policy”.


The United States, like most countries, does not recognise Taiwan as an independent state but is opposed to any unilateral change of the cross-strait status quo.

Huang said in addition to posing a threat from the sea, the PLA was actively expanding all its airbases along the eastern coast to accommodate the sharp increase in the dispatch of air sorties to intimidate Taiwan.


“The Chinese communists have rapidly expanded their coastal airbases with three of them very close to Taiwan,” he said.

According to the ministry’s report, the PLA had completed the expansion and upgrading of its coastal airbases and deployed advanced warplanes and drones there.

“It wants to form a superior air power, put pressure on our air defence, and seize air superiority in the event of war across the Taiwan Strait,” the report said.

plas fujian aircraft carrier poses substantial threat taiwanese defence ministry warns 1

Huang identified the three airbases closest to Taiwan as Longtian, Huian and Zhangzhou, but did not say how serious a threat they posed.


Chieh Chung, a security researcher at the National Policy Foundation, a Taipei think tank affiliated with the main opposition Kuomintang, said the Longtian airbase – the closest among the three – was about 200km (124 miles) from Taiwan.

“It will take just seven minutes for the PLA Air Force to fly its fighter jets over Taipei,” he warned, adding warplanes stationed at Huian and Zhangzhou could also reach the island’s capital within 10 minutes.

According to the report, the PLA air force has been increasing the number and capabilities of its fighter jets, bombers, airborne early warning platforms, cargo planes, aerial tankers and drones as it seeks to boost combat capabilities.


South China Morning Post

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