The military parades at Inner Mongolia's Zhurihe military training base on July 30.
Military strength forms basis for diplomatic victory in defending sovereignty: expert
A shipyard in Dalian, a coastal city in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, was surrounded by crowds on April 26 to witness the launch of the country's first domestically built aircraft carrier, Type 001A.
When the U.S. sent its aircraft carriers to the Taiwan Strait in the 1990s, Chinese couldn't imagine their country having an aircraft carrier, experts said, but now, in 2017, China has two with another (Type 002) on the way.
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Xi Jinping declared in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress on October 18 that "We have reached a new historical starting point in strengthening national defense and the armed forces."
In 2017, the PLA celebrated the 90th anniversary of its founding and it received a series of "birthday gifts," advanced weapons that strengthen its combat capability.
Apart from the Type 001A aircraft carrier another gift was China's first home-grown 10,000-ton class missile destroyer Type 055 launched on June 28.
"We can confidently say that, as far as destroyers are concerned, there is no generation gap between China and the U.S. anymore," said Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert.
The Type 001A is preparing its first mooring test, and the Type 002, far more advanced than the Type 001A, is under construction in Shanghai.
The PLA Air Force refuses to be left behind. China's fifth-generation J-20 stealth fighter jet has begun training with China's biggest transport aircraft, Y-20, and will be capable of mobilizing drones for battle by serving as their control platform in five years.
The PLA's achievements are just the beginning. Xi, also the chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, has drawn a clear path for China's military development.
"We will make it our mission to see that by 2035, the modernization of our national defense and our forces is basically completed; and that by the mid-21st century our people's armed forces have been fully transformed into world-class forces," he said in the report at the 19th CPC National Congress.
In 2016, then-PLA Air Force commander Ma Xiaotian said that China was developing a new generation long-range strategic bomber. Chinese military analysts call it the H-20, which they believed could match the U.S. B-2 stealth bomber. Some predicted it will appear in 2018's Zhuhai air show.
The PLA Rocket Force will receive its "new gift," the DF-41 bomber, as early as the first half of 2018, Xu Guangyu, a retired major general and senior adviser of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association told the Global Times.
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