'Chinese Navy growth poses no threat to others'

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New Delhi, Mar 9 (ANI): The Chinese navy has said that its growth does not pose any threat to others, and is only meant to fulfil the rising need to maintain national security.

The navy does not seek military hegemony despite its historic mission to Africa to guard vessels against piracy or the plan to build aircraft carriers, the navy's Deputy Chief of Staff said.

"Even when the navy has its aircraft carriers one day, our national defense strategy will remain purely defensive," the China Daily quoted Major General Zhang Deshun, as saying.

"The Chinese Navy pursues peace and safeguards the security of the country," Zhang said.

The Chinese Navy caught worldwide attention after its decision in December to send a fleet of warships for its first mission in overseas territory, joining the international anti-piracy campaign in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia.

The mission is historic, Zhang said, because it is the navy's first overseas mission since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

"But some foreign media saw it as an opportunity to hype so-called 'China threat'. In fact, China is doing exactly what other countries are doing, sending ships there: To protect national interests," Zhang said.

There has also been a flurry of reports on China's plans to build aircraft carriers after a rise of 14.9 percent in annual military spending was announced for this year during the ongoing legislative meeting in Beijing.

Zhang said an aircraft carrier is "strategically very common" for a big country with a long coastline.

He also said China is keen to solve maritime territory disputes with its neighbours through peaceful negotiations, but stressed that the navy is capable of safeguarding the 3 million sq km of its maritime territory. (ANI)

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