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China 'ready to build more carriers'

Published By United Press International
BEIJING, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- China State Shipbuilding Corp. asserts that it is ready to "build more carriers."

The People's Liberation Army Navy recently commissioned its first carrier, the Liaoning, after extensive sea trials.

The Liaoning is the former Soviet 67,500-ton Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier, originally named Riga but renamed Varyag after the December 1991 implosion of the Soviet Union.

In 1998 China's Chong Lot Travel Agency Ltd., a small company in Hong Kong, paid $20 million for the nearly finished craft.

Towed to China, the vessel has undergone extensive refitting by the China State Shipbuilding Corp.

"China is the only one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council not to have an aircraft carrier wholly developed by itself," China State Shipbuilding Corp. Chairman Hu Wenming said in a China Daily report.

"We must enhance our independent weapons and equipment research and production capacity to match the country's clout, and independently build our own aircraft carriers."
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