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China’s first aircraft carrier handed over to navy

Beijing, Sept. 24 (ANI): China’s first aircraft carrier has been handed over to the navy of the People’s Liberation Army amid rising tensions over disputed waters in the East and South China Seas.

The handover ceremony of the 300-metre (990-foot) ship, a former Soviet carrier called the Varyag, took place in northeast China’s port of Dalian.

During the handover ceremony, the aircraft carrier raised the Chinese flag on its mast, the PLA flag on its bow and the navy’s colours on its stern.

According to news.com.au, a ceremony to bring the ship into active service would be held sometime in the future.

The announcement comes at a time when tensions over maritime disputes in the Asia-Pacific region with Japan have increased.

Beijing confirmed last year it was revamping the old Soviet ship, and has repeatedly insisted the carrier poses no threat to its neighbours and will be used mainly for training and research purposes, the report said.

China had reportedly bought the carrier’s huge armored hull, with no engine, electrics or propeller, from Ukraine in 1998 and began to refit the vessel in Dalian in 2002. (ANI)