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industry leaders and experts assessed that their country was “technologically ca- pable of building carriers and ship-borne aircraft.”Liu allowed that “with regard to some special installations, of course, there are questions that we must deal with seriously. But they can be solved.” Liu suggested that China begin carrier development “feasibility studies in the Seventh Five-Year Plan period, do re- search and conduct preliminary studies of the platform deck and key questions on the aircraft during the Eighth Five-Year Plan period, and decide on the types and models in 2000.”

Liu contended that “the annual spending for the present and the following years will not be too much” and that “technologically [the plan had] many ad- vantages.” These included catalyzing “the development of technologies required by the state and by national defense.” Moreover, “through the preliminary stud- ies, we can get a deeper understanding of the value of aircraft carriers and the need for their existence in war preparations. This understanding will be condu- cive to making a final scientific policy decision.” Liu maintained that his “report had a certain effect on the PLA General Staff Department and the Commission of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense [COSTIND]. After that, the science research units concerned and the Navy’s armament department started to make relatively in-depth feasibility studies for developing aircraft car- riers under the auspices of [COSTIND].”

Throughout his vigorous promotion of aircraft carriers, Liu insisted, he weighed overall naval and national interests carefully. “During the feasibility stud- ies . . . I stressed the need to make a combat cost comparison between using aircraft carriers and ship-borne aircraft and using land-based air divisions, aerial refuellers, and land-based aircraft,”he continued. “Later, when I was working with the Central Military Commission, I continued to pay attention to this matter. I asked [COSTIND] and the Armament Department of the PLA General Staff De- partment to make an overall funding plan for developing carriers, including the funds needed for preliminary studies, research, and armament.”Liu stated that the aforementioned plan “should be listed along with the plans for developing war- ships, aircraft, weapons, and electronic equipment rather than included in the air- craft carrier development program so as to avoid creating an excessively large project that the higher authorities could not readily study. I told them clearly that any plan they made should be discussed by the Central Military Commission.”21

As for foreign technology, Liu reports,

I gave approval for experts of the Navy and related industries to visit such countries as France, the United States, Russia, and Ukraine to inspect aircraft carriers. During that period, departments related to the national defense industry invited Russian car- rier design experts to China to give lectures. Technical materials on carrier designs were introduced into our country, and progress was made in preliminary studies

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