Chief of China's General Staff General Chen Bingde officially affirmed that the first Chinese aircraft carrier is being currently built, reports BBC referring to Chinese newspaper Hong Kong Commercial Daily interviewed the general.
This is the first official statement about China's aircraft carrier program.
At present, Dalian shipyard (Liaoning province) is completing former Ukrainian aircraft-carrier cruiser Varyag.
Gen Chen Bingde refused to discuss the carrier's completion dates with newsmen.
Presumably, the aircraft carrier would be ready late in June 2011, reports Hong Kong Commercial Daily referring to undisclosed sources. Sea trials are supposed to start in the end of the current year, and in 2012 the ship is to join Chinese Navy.
The carrier poses no threat to other countries as China adheres to defensive strategy, emphasize representatives of China's General Staff.
The new carrier will "definitely not sail to other countries' territorial waters", said Assistant Chief of General Staff Qi Jianguo.
"We are now facing heavy pressure in the oceans whether in the South China Sea, East China Sea, Yellow Sea or the Taiwan Straits," he said meaning water areas where China has territorial disputes with neighbor states. It is vital for China to realize naval capabilities in settling such conflicts, added Qi Jianguo.
As was earlier reported, China is about to use new aircraft carrier for pilot training and as a basis for building own perspective carriers.
According to former Taiwan's top naval intelligence officer Lan Ning-li, the carrier would probably stationed in South Sea Fleet which area of responsibility includes the South China Sea.
The carrier is already equipped with radars, gun mounts Type 730, and shipborne air defense missile system FL-3000N, reported Central Navy Portal earlier on.
Photos of the ex-Soviet aircraft carrier Varyag at Dalian shipyard were published by Xinhua News Agency. Early in 2011 it was reported about flight tests of J-15 deck-based fighter designed by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation on the basis of Russian Su-33.
The ship has already obtained informal name Shi Lang in honor of the admiral conquered Taiwan in 1681.
A Macau-regestered company purchased non-completed Soviet aircraft-carrying cruiser Varyag from Ukraine in 1998. After long discords with Turkey not letting the carrier pass the Bosporus Strait, in 2001 Varyag was towed to China.