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China's first aircraft carrier enters into service

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A proper naval welcome and celebration - It’s a long-awaited day for China. The navy now has its biggest warship--and the country’s first aircraft carrier.

President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, along with other military and government leaders, are in Dalian for the handover.

The aircraft carrier is named the Liaoning, after the province which has been its home, for the past 10 years. The 300-meter ship has been transformed from a former Soviet carrier called the Varyag. After the lengthy refitting, and 10 sea trials over the past year, it’s ready for active service.

President Hu Jintao, who is also the Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, confers the PLA flag and a special certificate for the official name of the carrier. It’s a proud moment for several thousand sailors and workers from the ship builder.

Now comes the inspection. For the 2,000 young sailors serving onboard, it conveys the expectations for their mission, and the leaders’ vision for the future.

Hu Jintao walks from the bow and the stern to see all the facilities, escorted by the Liaoning’s newly appointed captain, senior Captain Zhang Zheng. The President later gets a close look at the interior construction and operational systems.

Many believe the aircraft carrier can help boost China’s naval strength. The military has stressed the carrier will mainly used for training and research.



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