In a move to signify its rising military might, China delivered and commissioned its first aircraft carrier to its navy, the Chinese defense ministry announced Tuesday. The 300m aircraft carrier, called Liaoning, is basically a renovated Russian ship bought from Ukraine. It entered service after refitting and several trials at sea.
The aircraft carrier was put into service in a big ceremony attended by top Chinese officials includingand Premier , a move that comes at a time of rising tensions between Beijing and its neighbors over islands in nearby seas.
Reports suggest that the aircraft carrier was formally delivered by the navy's major supplier, the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation. The ceremony took place at a marine base in northeast China's harbor metropolis of Dalian.
According to authorities, Liaoning would signify China’s power and safeguard its national sovereignty, a subject that has turned into an acid test for the government’s clashes with Japan over islands in the East China Sea.
"Today will be forever remembered as China's Navy has entered an era of aircraft carrier," Zhang told Xinhua on the carrier's flight deck,” said. Senior Captain Zhang Zheng, commanding officer of China's first carrier, according to China’s Xinhua News Agency. "When I received the PLA flag from the President, a strong sense of duty and commitment welled up in my heart," said Zhang who has served as commanding officer on the Navy's frigate and destroyer.”
The Chinese president called the carrier mighty, deeply significant and patriotic passion.
The Chinese Defense Ministry has lately put up proposals to modernize its weapons and fighting capacity to keep pace with the rest of the world and rising powers. The commissioning of the aircraft carrier is a progress in this direction; however, reports suggest that Beijing does not have a fleet of aircrafts and trained pilots for any operation.
Meanwhile US military experts and planners have played down the Chinese advancement, saying they would suggest China to have its own capacity and facilities of building an aircraft carrier; else their effort would be wastage of money and time.
Although China does not makes public expenditures on its military, yet insider information suggests that it spends more on the Army than the air force and navy.