Beijing (AFP) – China has launched a corruption investigation into the general manager of the state-owned firm responsible for building aircraft carriers, a potential complication in ambitious plans to modernise its navy.
Sun Bo is being probed for “suspicion of serious breach of the party discipline and the law”, Communist Party watchdog the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a brief online statement late Saturday.
Sun, 57, is second-in-command of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation.
The country’s first domestically built aircraft carrier started sea trials last month.
The carrier, known only as “Type 001A”, is expected to be commissioned by 2020, giving China a second aircraft carrier as it asserts its extensive claims in the South China Sea and seeks to deter any independence movements in Taiwan.
It is unclear whether the investigation into Sun will have an impact on the new carrier’s status.
China’s first carrier, the Liaoning, is a secondhand Soviet ship built nearly 30 years ago and commissioned in 2012.
President Xi Jinping has pursued a highly-publicised anti-corruption drive since taking office in 2012, vowing to go after both senior “tigers” and low-level “flies”.