(NEWS INVESTIGATORS) China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier has entered into service following a commissioning ceremony at a South China Sea naval base.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the ceremony in the southern island province of Hainan, inspecting equipment and guards onboard the new carrier, state media agency Xinhua reported.
The new carrier, which has been named the Shandong after the Chinese province of the same name, is just the second aircraft carrier in China’s navy, and the first to be manufactured in China.
“It puts them in a small league of countries that have done that,” Euan Graham, executive director of La Trobe Asia, told the ABC.
“Some countries have chosen to purchase their aircraft carriers — China went down that route for its first ship.”
China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was a refitted Soviet-era vessel which Beijing bought second hand from Ukraine in 1998.
It can carry 24 fighter jets while the Shandong is capable of carrying 36, according to state television.