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TOKYO, September 23 (Itar-Tass) — China’s first aircraft carrier entered into service of the country’s Navy on Sunday, local media has reported.
It was rebuilt from Ukraine’s aircraft carrier Varyag that Beijing bought back in 1998.
Last year the vessel, which will get its new name in honour of Liaoning, China’s northeastern province where it was rebuilt, underwent sea trials, making ten sea voyages and conducting trainings with ship-based aircraft.
According to Chinese military officials, the aircraft carrier will be mainly used for training purposes. Within the upcoming years Beijing plans to build several more aircraft carriers that will be fully designed and manufactured in China.
China’s aircraft carriers will significantly influence the alignment of forces in the region. In particular, Tokyo keeps a close watch on expansion of the Chinese fleet’s presence in the Pacific Ocean, especially in the light of the territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, also known as the Diaoyu Islands in China that recently aggravated.