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China First Aircraft Carrier Enters Service STR / APF / Getty Images

First Aircraft Carrier Enters Service

It's a big day for China as the Asian nation's first-ever aircraft carrier is launched into service. The 300-meter carrier is actually a Soviet-era ship that was purchased from Ukraine and refitted in Liaoning—after which it was named. There are no operational aircraft aboard the carrier; it's being used for training right now, but the Chinese government intends for it to eventually be put to use to defend the country and its interests. The launch comes amid a dispute between China and Japan over some islands in the East China Sea, and Japan as well as other countries have recently expressed concern over China's growing Navy. 

September 25, 2012 6:40 AM