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Chinese aircraft carrier begins second leg of sea trials

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A file photo of China's aircraft carrier.

BEIJING (BNS): Over three months after it completed its maiden sea trial, China's Soviet-era aircraft carrier started the second phase of sea trials on Tuesday, the official media reported.

The warship -- China's sole aircraft carrier -- set sail for its second leg of sea trials "for relevant scientific research and experiments," the Xinuha news agency reported quoting a Chinese Defence Ministry statement.

"Prior to sailing, the aircraft carrier had completed all the refitting and testing work as scheduled after its first sea trial in August," the statement said.

In June this year, China officially confirmed that it was revamping the partially-built aircraft carrier which it had acquired from Ukraine in 1998, sparking concern over its growing military might and ambitious naval expansion.

The 990-foot warship entered the sea for the first time on August 10. It was launched amidst heightened and continuing military tension in the Asia-Pacific region over the South China Sea.

The Defence Ministry later said that the vessel "attained the anticipated objectives" during the first leg of sea trial.

It was reported that the carrier might have also tested the taking-off and landing of naval fighter jets onboard during the trial.

Though China has said that the vessel is meant for "training and research purposes," experts, however, believe that it would be used by the Chinese Navy for conducting training and operations and also as a model of China's indigenously built ship in future.

The country plans to deploy the warship in the resource-rich South China Sea by 2012.

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