China's first aircraft carrier was formerly the Kuznetsov-class carrier Varyag, which was purchased from Ukraine in 1998 before being refurbished and finally put into service by the PLA Navy in 2012. Some analysts thought that the likelihood of this increased after Ming Pao reported on Apr. 23 that Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Chinese military leadership had arrived in Dalian on Apr. 21 to attend the event.
With the launch of the new carrier, China will become the seventh country with the capability to build its own aircraft carriers.
China has launched an aircraft carrier, known as Type 001A, local media reported Wednesday. It's expected to be formally commissioned sometime before 2020, after sea trials and the arrival of its full air complement.
Nevertheless, Genevaz said, it is a "technological leap" for China as it signals the development of more native aircraft carriers in the future. Three Chinese marine ships left in the morning for a welcoming visit to more than 25 nations in Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Giving a comparison of the American supercarrier and the new Chinese carrier, Li said the former is powered by two advanced nuclear reactors and equipped with an electromagnetic aircraft launching system while the conventional-powered Shandong retains the ski-jump take-off ramp of the Liaoning. China's primary security objective is to safeguard its interests in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Yellow Sea against regional contenders, such as the U.S. China's aim is to defend its trade, access to natural resources, and build a buffer against perceived U.S. encroachment.
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China celebrated the 68th anniversary of the establishment of its navy on Sunday amid a huge expansion of its fleet. It has cruised in the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf and helped evacuate Chinese and foreign nationals amid civil strife in Libya in 2011 and Yemen in 2015, the year it took part in its first Mediterranean joint naval exercises with Russian Federation.
China has offered little information about the roles it expects its carriers to play, although its planning appears to be evolving as it gains more experience.
Chinese state news agency Xinhua said work had started on their latest aircraft carrier in 2013.
The China Daily called the ship "the largest and most sophisticated surface vessel China has ever built".