July 15 (UPI) -- China is expected to soon deploy its first-in-class Type 075 amphibious assault ship, a vessel capable of "island seizing," Chinese-language media said Wednesday.
The 40,000-ton ship that first launched in September of last year after a ceremony at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai, has been equipped with weapons and is to undergo operational testing, China's Global Times and Taiwan's China Times reported Wednesday.
The assault ship is to be named after one of China's two biggest cities, Beijing and Shanghai, according to reports.
China's Type 075 rivals the USS Wasp, a U.S. Navy multipurpose amphibious assault ship. The Chinese vessel is capable of sailing at 30 knots and can carry up to 1,208 crew and 28 helicopters.
The amphibious assault ship can also be equipped with China's HongQi-10 surface-to-air missile system and a close-in weapon system that can deliver 10,000 shots per minute, reports say.
The deployment of China's first Type 075 ship could affect cross-strait relations.
Chinese state media quoted a local military expert, who said the ship would be a "powerful addition" if "Taiwan were to be reunified by force." Under its One-China policy, Beijing does not recognize Taiwanese sovereignty.
China's increased presence in the South China Sea recently drew condemnations from the Trump administration.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said Beijing's territorial claims are "completely unlawful" and accused the Chinese government of bullying neighbors.
Rising tensions between the United States and China continue to draw responses from North Korea.
Pyongyang's foreign ministry said Wednesday in a statement to KCNA Pompeo had insulted the Chinese people and displayed "blatant disregard."
Pyongyang also said Pompeo "links everything to the Chinese Communist Party" and recklessly attacks the Chinese government.
The foreign ministry also said it has "caught on many occasions Pompeo confronting our [North Korean] system of socialism."
Pompeo has previously said the United States remains open to dialogue with Pyongyang.