Category: World / September 25, 2012 1:15 PM EDT
The Chinese Navy officially entered its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, into service Tuesday (September 25) at the port city of Dalian. The ship, however, is not yet able to carry any planes and will not be combat-ready for years.
The ceremony was overseen by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, whose presence underscored the political implications of the vessel’s creation. China is currently engaged in a dispute with Japan over the control of Islands in the East China Sea. China is also facing increased pressure from the United States as the Pentagon increases its navy presence in the region. China is now the tenth country around the world to own an aircraft carrier.
The warship was built in 1988 in the Soviet Union and later transferred to Ukraine. The People’s Republic of China purchased the hulk of the ship in 1998. After years of retrofitting, the ship began sea trials in August of 2011. The ship is expected to be used only for training purposes.