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Army chief confirms that China is close to completing its first aircraft carrier


June 8, 2011 - London

The Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), General Chen Bingde, has confirmed that Beijing is building an aircraft carrier.

General Bingde told the Hong Kong Commercial Daily that the 990-ft refurbished Soviet carrier "is being built, but it has not been completed".

According to The Telegraph, he declined to elaborate further, though there is speculation that the vessel is nearly finished. The ship, then called the Varyag, was reportedly purchased in 1998.

It is currently based in the northeast port city of Dalian, where it can be seen clearly from the bedroom furnishings department of the local branch of IKEA home furnishings store.

The ship would be used for training and as a model for a future indigenously-built ship, was originally built for the Soviet navy. Construction was interrupted by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Hong Kong paper quoted anonymous sources as saying the carrier will be launched by the end of June at the earliest.

ANI

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