A top navy commander says China plans to operate more aircraft carriers in the future that will be even larger and carry more aircraft than the initial one launched last year.

The comments from deputy navy chief Song Xue reported Wednesday by the official Xinhua News Agency marked the clearest indication yet that China plans to expand its carrier program. Song didn't give a specific number, saying only, "We won't have just one."

China spent a decade refurbishing a derelict Soviet-era carrier bought from Ukraine before commissioning it as the Liaoning last year. The carrier is part of a major expansion of the Chinese navy that is equipping it with sophisticated new surface ships and submarines, prompting China's neighbors to upgrade and enlarge their own navies.