By Gaurav Sharma
Beijing, Feb 12 (IANS) China on Tuesday said it was not aware of Beijing’s reported plans to sell its first and only aircraft carrier to its ally Pakistan.
A Pakistani media report cited a Chinese state media report as saying that Beijing had decided to sell its only aircraft carrier Liaoning to Islamabad.
IANS, however, could not find any such report in the Chinese media. China’s state-run Global Times also said that its reporter was unable to locate the story.
Asked about the report, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said: “I have not seen the report you mentioned… But China has always followed principles regarding exports of its naval ships to other countries.”
The Pakistani newspaper report failed to explain why China would sell its only in “service aircraft Liaoning, bought unfinished from Ukraine, when it is yet to commission the one it has indigenously produced”.
Also, China plans to have four nuclear-powered aircraft carriers which will take more than a decade to finish.
In fact, the Global Times said in a report that the government has not revealed any plan to sell the aircraft carrier to Pakistan. It also said that its reporter could not find the Chinese media report regarding the sale cited by the Pakistani newspaper.
“It is a groundless allegation and complete falsehood,” Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and commentator, told the Times.
“As China’s first-ever aircraft carrier, Liaoning acts as both training vessel and combat warship… There is a zero possibility of reselling it and China does not have spare carriers to sell to Pakistan,” Song said.
(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])