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China's First Home-Built Aircraft Carrier Goes Into Service

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China's First Home-Built Aircraft Carrier Goes Into Service

China has placed its first domestically built aircraft carrier in active service on Tuesday, according to the Nikkei.

What Happened

China commissioned into active service its first homegrown aircraft carrier at a military base in Sanya, on the southern island of Hainan, near the South China Sea on Tuesday.

President Xi Jinping, around 5,000 Chinese soldiers, and some other guests, attended the ceremony, which was aired by state broadcaster China Central Television on Tuesday evening.

The new carrier, named the Shandong, has been deployed to the South China Sea, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Southern Theater Command, one of the five military regions of China.

Why It Matters

The South China Sea has been a contentious military place, with China and several other countries including Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, and Japan claiming the ownership of the strategic waterway for long.

Back in 2016, the international court rejected China’s claim over the sea. At the time, Chinese government criticized the international court’s ruling and warned military escalation.

The United States has been deeply involved in the South China Sea controversy, backing the countries against China and conducting military patrols. 

The commissioning of the Shandong marks the first time China has deployed an aircraft carrier in the sea, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China started building the Shandong in November 2013. The new ship “still does not have enough impact to upset the military balance between the U.S. and China in East Asia," according to the Nikkei's source. 

 

 

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