Increasing its naval arsenal, China unveiled the second Type 055 large destroyer, claimed to be one of the largest in the world by the state-run media. Praising the arrival of the new vessel, the state-run Global Times, which acts as a mouthpiece for Xi Jinping, reported the vessel will safeguard China’s sovereignty abroad.
The newspaper said: “The commissioning of the Type 055 guided-missile destroyers, considered some of the most powerful warships in the world, marks the strategic development transformation of the PLA Navy, and will enable the service to better safeguard China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests, analysts said.”
China now has two large destroyers of this type in operation after the first, the Nanchang, was unveiled last year.
The warships are also used to lead strike groups and house 112 vertical launch pads, while it also has a dual-band radar system capable of taking on low-earth satellites.
In a boost to China’s naval power, a further six type 055 destroyers are expected to be built in the next two years.
The unveiling of the new vessel comes as the UK prepares to send the new carrier strike group to the South China Sea.
While there, the vessel will conduct drills with Japan in the Indo-Pacific later this year in face of China’s growing naval influence in the region.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth, which lead the group, departed Portsmouth this month and will conduct sea trials before arriving in the South China Sea in the summer.
The move to send the strike group was labelled as one of the most important naval missions in a generation by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
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“This year will see our two nations working even more closely together with the UK’s Presidency of the G7 and hosting of the UN Climate Conference.
“The UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt, including the visit of HMS Queen Elizabeth to the region, demonstrates our shared priorities and common strategic interests from maritime security to climate change and free trade.”
Both Germany and France are also sending naval groups to the South China Sea to combat Beijing’s aggression in the region.
Despite the increased presence of foreign vessels, China has vowed to tackle any attempt to violate its sovereignty.
Beijing has also vowed to stand up against the Quad Alliance of America, India, Australia and Japan.
Joe Biden is due to hold a quadrilateral summit with the leaders of the other three nations as they step up preparations against China’s influence.