China has launched its first aircraft carrier built entirely on its own in a demonstration of the growing technical sophistication of its defense industries.
China launched on Wednesday its second aircraft carrier in a Dalian shipyard in Liaoning province, an official said.
The aircraft carrier - the second in a planned fleet of as many as six such ships - was based on the design of the Liaoning, a Soviet vessel China bought from Ukraine, refitted and put to sea nearly six years ago.
The new carrier is expected to be formally commissioned by around 2020, following sea trials.
China's latest carrier also runs on a conventional oil-fueled steam turbine power plant, rather than a nuclear reactor.
DALIAN, China-Construction of China's first domestically manufactured aircraft carrier appears to be nearly complete.
A launching ceremony had been expected on Apr. 23, but apparently didn't take place, perhaps due to regional tensions The first aircraft carrier made completely with Chinese technology reportedly remains at the dock, defying predictions that its launching ceremony would be held on Apr. 23, the anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese navy.
The 315 metre long and 75 metre wide vessel has a cruising speed of 31 knots and has a displacement of 70,000 tonnes, the South China Morning Post reported. The ship was constructed at the Dalian Shipyard, a port in northern China's Liaoning province that happens to share a border the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea).
"The scaffolding around the ship, temporarily named the Type 001A, was removed and the deck was cleared", Shanghai-based news portal thepaper.cn reported, indicating the unveiling is likely to be done soon though it could not happen on Sunday because of low tides.
Putting the carrier into water marked progress in China's efforts to design and build a domestic aircraft carrier. That compares with 275 deployable battle force ships presently in the U.S. Navy, China's primary rival in the Asia Pacific. It added China's priority was developing its economy and then building "resource consuming" aircraft carriers.
This aerial photo shows China's second aircraft carrier in dry dock in December 2016.
China has offered little information about the roles it expects its carriers to play, although its planning appears to be evolving as it gains more experience.