China's first aircraft carrier built entirely in its own shipyard left port Sunday to begin sea trials Sunday in a new show of military muscle.
The sea trials will test the reliability and stability of the vessel's power system and other equipment, according to sources cited by Xinhua.
One of the key differences between Liaoning and the Type 001A is that while the first carrier was meant to be used as a training asset, the new vessel can be used as a front-line combat vessel.
China is making clear its intention to accelerate the building of aircraft carriers to step up maritime activities.
Speaking to CNN of this morning's sea trials, Sam Roggeveen, senior fellow at Sydney's Lowy Institute said: "This is, in and of itself, not created to be some frontal challenge to USA power in the Asia Pacific, because it simply isn't in the class of America's aircraft carriers".
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Embarrassingly, for the United Kingdom, their new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, sprung a leak during its sea trials in 2017, and required repairs. First aircraft carrier - the Liaoning was bought from Ukraine, completed and modernized.
Expected to be commissioned by 2020, the ship will give China a second aircraft carrier to boost its navy as it asserts its claims in the disputed South China Sea and seeks to deter any independence movements in Taiwan. The length of the aircraft carrier is 315 meters, beam - 75 meters, displacement - 50 thousand metric tons (70 thousand when fully loaded), operating speed - 31 nautical knots.
Prof Tsang added: "But for the rest of China's neighbours, the new carrier based doctrine of the People's Liberation Army is frightening, as none of them can remotely match China's new naval capabilities".
Local media say the Chinese-built carrier may be handed over to the military as early as in the latter half of this year. The ship will also carry several types of helicopters. However, a source close to the navy said it was "too early to estimate" when the new ship would be combat-ready.
In the naval forces of China ship of this class will be the second in the composition.