China needs “at least three aircraft carriers” to protect its extensive coastline and its interests abroad, a senior Chinese naval expert said Wednesday.
“Our country has an 18,000-kilometre (11,000-mile) long coastline. Also, our economy is outward looking and our interests abroad are growing,” said Commodore Zhang Junshe, a member of the Naval Research Institute.
“All this requires us to send a military force to distant seas to protect (these interests). In these circumstances, I think we need at least three aircraft carriers. Of course, depending on economic development, we could legitimately revise this figure upwards,” he said during a meeting with the Chinese and foreign press.