China's first aircraft carrier makes first sea trial

BEIJING Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:21am IST

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's first aircraft carrier held its first sea trial on Wednesday morning, in a step likely to stoke patriotic pride at home and jitters abroad about Beijing's naval ambitions.

The long-awaited debut of the carrier, refitted from a former Soviet craft, marks only an initial step towards China's plans to build a carrier force that can project influence into the region, where seas are spanned by busy shipping lanes and thorny territorial disputes.

The carrier "left its shipyard in Dalian Port in northeast Liaoning province on Wednesday morning to start its first sea trial," said Xinhua, describing the trip as only a tentative trial run for the unfinished ship.

"Military sources said that the first sea trial was in line with the schedule of the carrier refitting project and would not take a long time," said the report.

"After returning from the sea trial, the aircraft carrier will continue refit and test work," said the report.

Last month, China's defence ministry China confirmed the government was refitting the old Soviet vessel, and sources told Reuters it was also building two of its own carriers.

The carrier plan is just one part of China's naval modernisation programme, which has forged ahead while other powers tighten their military budgets to cope with debt woes.

That growing Chinese naval reach is triggering regional jitters that have fed into longstanding territorial disputes, and could speed up military expansion across Asia.

In the past year, China has had run-ins at sea with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. The incidents -- boat crashes and charges of territorial incursions -- have been minor, but the diplomatic reaction often heated.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

Coordinated Assault

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Article 

Indians in Iraq

Indians in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

After record deal, more India bank takeovers on cards  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Cricket Tragedy

Cricket Tragedy

Clarke breaks down giving heartfelt Hughes tribute  Full Article 

Nigeria Violence

Nigeria Violence

Bombs, gunfire kill 81 at crowded mosque in Nigeria's Kano  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

D’Silva's “Ungli” just skims the surface  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage