In an article celebrating the sixth anniversary of China’s first carrier, the Liaoning, state-run news agency Xinhua teased the future of the country’s fleet.
“Six years have passed, our domestic carrier has been trialed, entry into service is just around the corner. The new aircraft carrier has also been built on the slipway,” the article said.
China’s second aircraft carrier, the unnamed Type 001A, was the country’s first domestically made vessel of its type and has been running through sea trials over the course of 2018.
But rumors had been circulating in the past year that another, more advanced vessel, was already under construction in China.
Both the Liaoning and the Type 001A use the older, less advanced launching system known as the ski-jump, which relies on a plane’s own power to lift off.
Previous state media articles have speculated the new aircraft carrier is being constructed in Shanghai.
Zhu Yingfu, the chief designer of the Liaoning, said in a speech in April although the US had 11 aircraft carriers, it was likely China would need far less.
“The United States says it needs 10 carriers. We may not need that many, but there should be at least three. If conditions permit, there should be four or five,” he said.
“The US Navy and the capability for the US Navy will still be superior to the Chinese Navy in 10 years, but the size of the Chinese fleet will be larger and they’ll have closed the gap in technology and training,” Ross said at the time.
CNN’s Nanlin Fang and Brad Lendon contributed to this article.