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First Chinese-built aircraft carrier takes to the waves for trials

First Chinese-built aircraft carrier takes to the waves for trials

China's first entirely home-built aircraft carrier began sea trials Sunday in a sign of the growing sophistication of the country's domestic arms industry.

Speaking to CNN of this morning's sea trials, Sam Roggeveen, senior fellow at Sydney's Lowy Institute said: "This is, in and of itself, not created to be some frontal challenge to US power in the Asia Pacific, because it simply isn't in the class of America's aircraft carriers".

There was also some speculation that carrier's sea trials would coincide with the annual Spring Festival or Chinese New Year in mid-February.

Now the carrier, currently identified as "Type 001A" will undergo a series of tests at sea, before being officially commissioned into service by the Chinese Navy (PLAN) in 2020.

The vessel - temporarily named Type 001A - was sent out for sea trials at 7am today as President Xi Jinping pushes ahead with modernisation in the country's Navy.

Prof Tsang added: "But for the rest of China's neighbours, the new carrier based doctrine of the People's Liberation Army is frightening, as none of them can remotely match China's new naval capabilities".

The new ship began in 2013, the ceremony of descent to water was held in April 2017.

"Aircraft carriers are for power projection and for domination, and this is just the first of several more indigenous carriers".

Its predecessor was intended more as a training base, but the new ship is likely to be deployed for combat, putting China alongside the U.S., the UK, Russia and France in its global capability. China past year established its first overseas military base in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti, where rivals such as the U.S., Japan and several European nations also have a permanent presence. Like the older ship, it can carry some 40 planes.

On the background of strengthening the position of the Chinese Navy, Japan is studying the possibility of construction of the first since the Second world war aircraft carrier.

Naval experts said the Chinese engineers and designers who built the ship had studied the most advanced military technology used by the Americans, as well as the former Soviet Union, and tried to incorporate it into the new ship to meet the practical needs of the PLA Navy. It's the latest development in Beijing's mission to modernize its military.