China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is not an "otaku man" and will take to the seas as planned, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.
Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a press conference that the Liaoning will not remain docked in the port but will embark on a long-distance voyage, though the details - time, destination and the size of its fleet - were still under consideration.
"The aircraft carrier is not a zhainan, so it is impossible for it to always stay in its home port," Yang said.
The "otaku man," or zhainan in Chinese, is usually referred to young men who prefer to stay at home glued to TV or video games and rarely venture out.
He also cited a Chinese proverb to emphasize the point.
"The sea is wide enough for fish to swim and the sky is spacious enough for birds to fly."
The official's tongue-in-cheek remark of comparing the carrier to an otaku man caught the eye of netizens.
"China's Liaoning is just like a real man who should have ambitions around the world," a netizen surnamed Liu said.
Yang's remark was retweeted over 300 times after the People's Daily quoted him on its official microblog.
The Liaoning has been carrying out a series of tests and drills since it anchored in Qingdao, Shandong Province, in February, according to a China Central Television report.
All the tests have been smooth so far and the Qingdao port has proved capable for berthing and supporting the carrier, the report said.
The Liaoning has completed over 100 exercises since it was initiated into the People's Liberation Army Navy and commissioned last year, the report said.
It will undergo further tests, including ocean trials and flight-landing exercises, while the Qingdao port will also be upgraded further.
"China will have more than one aircraft carrier ... The next aircraft carrier we need will be larger and carry more fighters," Song Xue, deputy chief of staff of the PLA Navy, has said.
The Liaoning, China's only aircraft carrier, is Russian-made but was refitted in China and delivered to the navy on September 25 last year.
It conducted successful take-off and landing tests with carrier-borne J-15 fighters in November last year.