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China’s First Domestically Built Aircraft Carrier Begins Sea Trial

China’s new 50,000-ton aircraft carrier, the first one built domestically, set off for its maiden sea trial on Sunday as part of the country’s plans to boost its military prowess with a “world-class” navy. The vessel, the country’s second aircraft carrier, is expected to join the navy at some point before 2020. A more “modernized” version of its first aircraft carrier, the new ship is thought to signal Beijing’s ambitions to catch up to the U.S. Navy, which operates 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. Chinese President Xi Jinping last month unveiled plans to build a new navy under the banner of the Chinese Communist Party that could rival the maritime forces of other world powers. Apparently as part of those plans, the Chinese military got an 8-percent increase in its budget for 2018, with $175 billion allocated for defense spending. The spending boost came after the Chinese Navy increased its fleet of ships from 210 to 320 in just a few years.