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First China-made aircraft carrier launched

BBC News logo BBC News 26/04/2017
The carrier is launched in Dalian © Reuters The carrier is launched in Dalian

China has launched a new aircraft carrier, boosting its military presence amid rising tensions in the region.

It is the country's second aircraft carrier, after the Liaoning, and the first to be made domestically.

State media said the unnamed ship was "transferred from dry dock into the water" in the north east port of Dalian. Previous reports said it would be operational by 2020.

It comes amid heated rhetoric between the US and North Korea in recent days.

This photo taken on 24 December 2016 shows the Liaoning, China's only aircraft carrier, sailing during military drills in the Pacific.: China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is a refurbished Soviet ship © Getty Images China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is a refurbished Soviet ship

The US has deployed warships and a submarine to the Korean peninsula, prompting an angry reaction from North Korea. China has urged for calm.

The carrier is touted to be a significant upgrade from the Liaoning, which was built more than 25 years ago and is a refurbished Soviet ship bought from Ukraine.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua said work had started on their latest aircraft carrier in 2013.

China's second aircraft carrier, first domestically built aircraft carrier, is seen during its launching ceremony in Dalian, Liaoning province, China, 26 April 2017.: Chinese state media released a picture of the launch showing the carrier bedecked in giant colourful streamers © Reuters Chinese state media released a picture of the launch showing the carrier bedecked in giant colourful streamers Aircraft carrier sets sail in Dalian © Reuters Aircraft carrier sets sail in Dalian The launch was attended by the vice-president of China's central military commission Fan Changlong.

Officials smashed a bottle of champagne on the ship's hull as "magnificent patriotic songs" played on loudspeakers and nearby ships sounded their horns in celebration, reported Xinhua.

The defence ministry said previously that it would carry China's J-15 aircraft along with other planes, and that it would use conventional rather than nuclear propulsion.

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