04/26/2017, 10.35
CHINA
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Beijing launches first aircraft carrier built on Chinese soil

It is the second in the history of the fleet. The government has started construction in 2015. The scheduled start-up will not be before 2020. The launch worries Washington and its allies concerned about the Chinese military presence in the region. 

Beijing (AsianNews) - Beijing launched the Shandong today, the first aircraft carrier built entirely on national territory, displaying its growing naval power. The flagship of the Chinese fleet was inaugurated at a port site in Dalian, in the northeastern province of Liaoning.

The Shandong launch ceremony took place three days after the 68th anniversary of the Chinese Navy and was chaired by Fan Changlong, vice president of the Central Military Commission. President Xi Jinping, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, was not present at the event.

The Type 001A  military aircraft, as it has been temporarily named,  is the second aircraft carrier in the history of the Chinese fleet after Liaoning, a former Soviet cargo ship imported from Ukraine and put into service by the Navy in 2012.

The government began designing Shandong in November 2013 and its construction on site in 2015. The new aircraft carrier is scheduled to enter into operation not before 2020, allowing the Navy to install adequate equipment. The battleship, 315 meters long and 75 meters wide, has a cruising speed of 31 knots and a total weight of 70,000 tons.

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