The Chinese navy, or the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy), now has two fully-functioning aircraft carriers, the Soviet-era Liaoning and the new, domestically-built Shandong.
While seriously enhancing China’s ability to project combat power beyond its own coastline, they are also being used to train cadres of naval officers and pilots in the complex business of efficiently running aircraft carrier groups.
China insists that it is not interested in using all this power to dominate the region. According to a recent government report, the navy is there only to defend itself and its interests, and will never try to seek hegemony, expansion or spheres of influence.
In the first episode of Project Force, Al Jazeera’s Alex Gatopoulos asks: what does China’s rapid naval expansion mean for its neighbours?
This episode was produced, edited and animated by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Adam Adada.