Amphibious assault ships are an important combat force of new quality and serve as a “fist” in safeguarding national unity, said the captain of China’s first Type 075 amphibious assault ship.

Zhang Meiyu, who served on several surface combat vessels and captained the Type 054A frigate Sanya before being appointed as commanding officer of the Type 075 amphibious assault ship Hainan, made the remarks in a recent interview with the Global Times.

The Hainan is China’s first amphibious assault ship. It was commissioned into the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on April 23, 2021.

Compared with destroyers and frigates that can operate alone, an amphibious assault ship must work in a group, Zhang said. The Hainan carries air-cushioned landing craft, armored vehicles and helicopters, and can coordinate with destroyers, frigates and other military services and branches in missions, he said.

Zhang spends more than 200 days at sea a year, and he has carried out several mock battle exercises, combat alert patrols as well as tracking and monitoring missions, in which he successfully dealt with dozens groups of foreign military vessels and aircraft, the Global Times learned.

Zhang has studied detailed parameters and capabilities of many foreign military vessels and aircraft, which enables him to innovatively draft plans to track and expel foreign forces while making the best use of advantages and bypass disadvantages.

“When it comes to safeguarding maritime rights, the PLA Navy always sticks to the principle of serving national interests and will not give an inch. We do not cause or stir up troubles, but we are not afraid of troubles. We are willing to sacrifice, and our sacrifice will be meaningful,” said Zhang, who looks gentle but firm.

The Hainan for the first time opened to high-ranking foreign military officers in May, and Zhang not only introduced the Hainan to foreign guests, but also covered other foreign affairs in their talks.

“Self-seclusion is not the way to go, and we are willing to have exchanges and communications with our counterparts from other countries,” Zhang said, stressing the significance of confidence and openness for a major navy.

The Chinese Navy is undergoing a transformation as it is striving to build a world-class navy. As an important combat force of new quality and a “fist” in safeguarding national unity, the Hainan must build outstanding combat capability, Zhang said.

This includes enhancing the ship’s comprehensive capabilities as a single vessel, the integrated capabilities as a platform and the joint capabilities in the group, he said.

The Hainan will carry out any mission the country requires in anywhere in the world, Zhang said.