China could be ready to launch its first domestically manufactured aircraft carrier by the end of the year, according to a Chinese news report. Above, a navy soldier of the People’s Liberation Army stands guard as Chinese citizens board the naval ship “Linyi” at a port in Aden, Yemen, March 29, 2015. Reuters
China could launch its first Chinese-made aircraft carrier by the end of the year, amid regional tensions over the South China Sea and China’s building of islands — and military bases — there. The ship, described as type 001A, could take another four years to go into service, but the launch, according to Ming Pao, a Chinese language newspaper in Hong Kong, was scheduled for Dec. 26, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
A ship’s launch, which can be highly ceremonious, is when the ship is transferred to the water. Dec. 26 is the birthday of Mao Zedong, the former Chinese communist leader.