China Launches First Domestically-Built Aircraft Carrier

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – China on Wednesday launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier, which will join an existing one bought second-hand, amid rising tensions over North Korea and worries about Beijing's assertiveness in the South China Sea.

China Launches First Domestically-Built Aircraft Carrier

State media has quoted military experts as saying the carrier, designed in China and built in the northeastern port of Dalian, is not expected to enter service until 2020, as it will take time to fully kit out and arm, Reuters reported.

The launch had been well-flagged as foreign military analysts and Chinese media have for months published satellite images, photographs and news stories about the second carrier's development. China confirmed its existence in late 2015.

The carrier's hull is fully constructed, the official Xinhua news agency said, adding that the propulsion, power and other main systems are in place.

The ship's launch "shows our country's indigenous aircraft carrier design and construction has achieved major step by step results," Xinhua said.

State television showed the carrier, its deck lined in red flags, being pushed by tug boats into its berth.

The new conventionally powered carrier has a displacement of 50,000 tons and will be able to operate China's Shenyang J-15 fighter jets.

China's navy has been taking an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and new Chinese warships popping up in far-flung places.

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