China Launches First Domestically built Aircraft Carrier

  • China Launches First Domestically built Aircraft Carrier

China Launches First Domestically built Aircraft Carrier

China today launched its first indigeneously-built aircraft carrier which will join an existing one bought from Ukraine, boosting its military capabilities amid worries about Beijing's assertiveness in the South China Sea.

The launch came three days after the 68th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Navy on Sunday, and against the backdrop of a rising China's efforts to beef up its navy to project the world's second largest economy's growing clout overseas.

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The ceremony was attended by Gen. Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, who gave a speech.

The second Chinese-designed aircraft carrier, known as Type 002, is to be an entirely different design than Types 001 (Liaoning) and 001A.

As NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing, the new carrier's launch is being greeted as a milestone for China and its military.

Ma Xiaoguang, a Chinese mainland spokesperson with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said Wednesday he was proud of the great achievement made by the country in modernizing the national defense and military.

The China Daily called the ship "the largest and most sophisticated surface vessel China has ever built". The vessel was commissioned by China´s navy in 2012 after extensive refits.

The ceremony was kicked off in magnificent national anthem at 9:00 and a bottle of champagne was broken on the aircraft carrier as a customary way of blessing the ship.

"China is building a blue-water navy for the long term: not just the carriers themselves, but the auxiliary ships to supply them and the warships to protect them", he said in an e-mail.

China has launched its first indigenous aircraft carrier - sending a strong message to the world about its growing defence industry capabilties.

North Korea responded by releasing a war propaganda video vowing to take down American aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson.

In an emailed response to VOA, Richard Bitzinger, a senior fellow at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies under Nanyang Technological University in Singapore says that while most countries make a big deal about "launching" a carrier "there is a difference between that and making a vessel operational". It will carry China's J-15 carrier-based, multi-role combat aircraft.

This photo taken on December 24, 2016 shows the Liaoning, China's only aircraft carrier, sailing during military drills in the Pacific.

The US Navy has already started installing more advanced electromagnetic catapult systems on its carriers, while China is still testing steam catapults, naval expert Li Jie told Global Times.