China’s first aircraft carrier goes to sea

Associated Press / August 11, 2011

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BEIJING - China’s first aircraft carrier swept through fog-shrouded waters yesterday to begin sea trials that underscore concerns about the country’s growing military strength and its increasingly assertive claims over disputed territory.

The mission by the refurbished former Soviet carrier marks a first step in readying the craft for full deployment. China says the ship is intended for research and training, citing its plans to build up to three clones of the vessel.

China has spent the better part of a decade refurbishing the carrier. It was towed from Ukraine in 1998, minus its engines, weaponry, and navigation systems. It went to sea from the northern port of Dalian, where it is being overhauled.

Details about the cruise were tightly restricted, in line with the military’s habitual secrecy.

The United States yesterday urged greater openness from China about its military capabilities and asked for a formal explanation of how the aircraft carrier would be used. top stories on Twitter

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