A firm has won a contract to supply cabling for a second Chinese aircraft carrier, comments by local authorities suggested in the latest sign that Beijing is boosting its maritime power, although news of the development was swiftly deleted online.
Authorities in Changzhou said on a verified social media account that “in 2015, our city will focus on promoting some major programmes”, including Jiangsu Shangshang Cable Group “winning the contract for China’s second aircraft carrier”.
The Changzhou Evening News carried a similar report at the weekend, although both the newspaper article and the post on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service, were deleted shortly after publication.
Neither report gave details of the ship.
China’s first aircraft carrier was purchased from Ukraine through an intermediary and was commissioned in 2012, while the country’s defence spending has been increasing sharply in recent years.
The deputy chief of staff of China’s navy, Song Xue, said in April 2013 that the country “will have more than one aircraft carrier” but left the timing open.
In a subsequent leak, Wang Min -- the Communist Party secretary of Liaoning province, where China’s first aircraft carrier is based -- said the country was already working on a second ship to be completed around 2020.