China Announces Formal Handover of First Aircraft Carrier

by
Reuters

BEIJING, Sept 25 (Reuters) - China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, official entered naval ranks on Tuesday, the country's Ministry of Defence announced, in a move that it said would help project maritime power and defend Chinese territory.

The ministry announcement of the handover to the navy came while Beijing and Tokyo are embroiled in a dispute over islands claimed by both sides.

"The entry into the ranks of this aircraft ca

China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, official entered naval ranks on Tuesday, the country's Ministry of Defence announced, in a move that it said would help project maritime power and defend Chinese territory.

The ministry announcement of the handover to the navy came while Beijing and Tokyo are embroiled in a dispute over islands claimed by both sides.

"The entry into the ranks of this aircraft carrier will raise the level of modernisation of China's overall naval operational forces," the ministry said on its website (www.mod.gov.cn). It did not say whether the announcement meant the carrier had formally entered service.

The Liaoning will help "effectively protect national sovereignty, security and development interests", said the announcement. The carrier, named after a northeast Chinese province, is likely to be used for training only.