China is building its second aircraft carrier, this time entirely with domestic technology, its Defense Ministry said Thursday, in a leap in its naval development that is increasingly tipping the regional balance of power.

The 50,000-ton vessel is being built in the northern port of Dalian and will be conventionally, rather than nuclear, powered, ministry spokesman Col. Yang Yujun told reporters at a news conference.

The yet-to-be-named vessel will carry J-15 fighter-bombers and other aircraft and use a ski jump mode for launching fixed-wing aircraft, Yang said. The J-15 is a copy of Russia’s Sukhoi Su-33.

“After an overall consideration of various factors, the relevant authorities started the research and development of China’s second aircraft carrier which is currently under independent design and construction,” Yang said.

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