China commissions three advanced naval ships
China has commissioned three main battle warships, including a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, a large destroyer and the country's largest amphibious assault ship that can carry around 30 helicopters and hundreds of troops. The ships were commissioned at a ceremony on 24 April 2021 attended by President Xi Jinping at Sanya, China's main naval base in the disputed South China Sea in Hainan province.
- The vessels commissioned included the Type 075 amphibious assault ships, which can carry an estimated 30 helicopters and hundreds of troops.
- It is China's largest amphibious assault ship with an estimated displacement of about 40,000 tonnes.
- The Type 09IV submarine is believed to be the second-generation class of China's nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, replacing the old Type 09II.
- The Type 055 is the most powerful destroyer in the People's liberation Army Navy (PLAN) which is equipped with new types of air-defence, missile-defence, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons.
- The new additions are part of the massive modernisation of the PLAN which included the aircraft carriers.
- Beijing claims most part of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory.
- China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
- China has also built its naval bases in Djibouti in the Indian Ocean besides Pakistan's Gwadar port and acquired Sri Lanka's Hambantota port for 99 years' lease.