BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) -- China's efforts to develop an aircraft carrier program will not change the defensive nature of its defense policy, said a signed commentary published in Friday's PLA Daily newspaper, the voice of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).
After China officially confirmed that it is planning an aircraft carrier program by announcing a refitting project of an imported aircraft carrier for the purposes of scientific research and training, some voices overseas expressed concern that China's possession of an aircraft carrier could upset the regional and global strategic balance.
At present, China is only making use of an old aircraft carrier platform for scientific research, experiments and training, and it still will take a long time before the country actually has an operational carrier, said the commentary signed by Peng Guangqian.
Moreover, it is a country's military strategy that determines the nature of its armament, not the other way around, he stated.
Even when China has a carrier, it will stick to the defensive nature of its defense policy, the commentary said, adding that China has plenty of reasons and legitimacy to have an aircraft carrier.
China faces a complicated security situation and having an aircraft carrier is necessary for the country to safeguard its sovereignty over territorial waters and maritime interests and to practice its international responsibilities, it said.
Moreover, an aircraft carrier is an indication of a country's comprehensive strength.
China is currently the only country without an operational aircraft carrier among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Other countries, including Spain, Italy, India, Brazil and Thailand also have carriers. This situation does not commensurate with China's international status, the commentary said.
China should make a greater contribution to the world's development and it also deserves the most advanced technologies to boost its capabilities, it said.
China's aircraft carrier program is not intended for invasive expansion or to seek hegemony, it said.
These comments are echoed by another article published in Friday's People's Daily overseas edition and signed by Wang Xinjun, a research fellow of war theory and strategy at the PLA Military Science Academy.
The article states that China has the right to have an aircraft carrier, and the efforts to achieve this will not target any other country, nor will it pose any security threat to other countries.
The article hailed the recent progress in carrier development as an important step and said a carrier will help promote Chinese citizens' awareness of maritime affairs, boost the capability to safeguard the country's maritime interests as well as the capability to participate in international maritime joint operations, such as salvage, counterterrorism and piracy crackdowns, it said.