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China Commissions First Aircraft Carrier

The "Liaoning" was commissioned on September 25 after its purchase from Ukraine.
China's first aircraft carrier, a former Soviet ship originally launched in 1988, has been officially handed over to the Chinese navy and commissioned under the Chinese flag.

In making the announcement, the Chinese Defense Ministry said the vessel would help project maritime power and defend Chinese territory.

The "Liaoning" was known as the "Riga" and then the "Varyag" when it was bought from Ukraine and refurbished.

The Chinese Defense Ministry said the "Liaoning" will help "effectively protect national sovereignty, security, and development interests."

The ministry announcement of the handover to the navy came while Beijing and Tokyo are embroiled in a dispute over islands claimed by both sides.

The carrier, named after a northeast Chinese province, was said likely to be used for training only.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP