Why China built second aircraft carrier base in Hainan
An Aug. 4 story in People’s Daily Online carried several insights on why a second Chinese navy aircraft carrier base was completed on Hainan island in November 2014.
The online version of the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper cited Kanwan Defense Review, a Canada-based Chinese researcher. It quoted the researcher as saying recently in a report that “Hainan’s strategic location, its complete defense facilities and the effectiveness of deploying guided missile nuclear submarines” were the three major reasons for building the base.
Kanwan’s report said the new base “incorporates a pier which can dock large ships on both sides, suggesting that both carriers can dock at the PLA Navy’s carrier bases at the same time. ” The new base is reportedly 700 meters long, making it the longest carrier berth in the world.
Ma Yao, a researcher with Shanghai International Studies University, was credited with conducting the study. He said in his analysis that the Hainan navy base is comparatively close to the three strategically important straits — Malacca Strait, Lombok Strait and Sunda Strait, making it easier for its naval fleet’s composition. Ma also says the base is situated in such way that it can protect this “comparatively weak oil passage to ensure its economic development.”
Ma also said that Hainan Island was equipped with quite advanced defense facilities after years of development, providing enough support to the naval base. Ma went on to say that submarines are an essential and integral part of China’s fleet. He added that the South China Sea is the best place for submarines among all the four seas that surround China.
The Hainan base is also said to be good for the effectiveness of the Chinese “navy’s nuclear force with its deeper waters and wider rims.” That was why China has in recent years deployed guided missile nuclear submarines in the South China Sea, Ma was quoted as saying.