China Launches Its First Aircraft Carrier

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China Launches Its First Aircraft Carrier

Postby Malcom » Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:55 am ... ier-launch

China's first aircraft carrier swept through fog-shrouded waters on Wednesday to launch open sea trials that underline the country's big naval ambitions and fuel concerns about its growing military strength amid regional territorial disputes.

The ship is a former Soviet craft that China acknowledged a month ago it was rebuilding for research and training, in a strong indication it plans to start building aircraft carriers of its own.
Over the past year, China has seen a flare-up in territorial spats with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam and had its relations strained with South Korea – all of which have sought support from Washington, long the pre-eminent naval power in Asia.

Xinhua said refitting and test work would continue on the carrier when it returns from its short sea trial.

The Varyag, yet to be officially renamed, was towed from Ukraine as an empty shell without engines, weapons systems or other crucial equipment.

Defence experts say China plans up to four carriers in all, with preparations under way at a Shanghai shipyard.
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