China's Navy has launched a new electronic reconnaissance ship, state media said on Thursday, the latest addition to an expanding fleet and as Beijing's new assertiveness to territorial claims in the South China Sea fuels tensions.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) now operates six electronic reconnaissance vessels, the official English-language China Daily newspaper said, noting that the PLA "has never made public so many details about its intelligence collection ships".
Last year, the PLA Navy commissioned 18 ships, including missile destroyers, corvettes and guided missile frigates, the paper said.
China has also said it is building a second aircraft carrier. China's only carrier is the second-hand, Soviet-built Liaoning, which this week unsettled neighbors with drills in the disputed South China Sea.