China has commissioned their very first aircraft carrier, which the Chinese Ministry of National Defense is calling "Liaoning", officially delivered to the Chinese Navy. The ceremony happened on September 25th at a navy base in Dalian, which is a port city in northeast China. It seems inconceivable that the Chinese have not had a carrier before now, but apparently they were concentrating on other things.
The city of Dalian is in the province that shares its name with the carrier, the Liaoning province, which was created when the northeast provinces were merged in the fifties. The carrier could mean quite a difference in scenario for China when it comes to disputes in the water, especially disputes that have been cropping up on the South China Sea.
The carrier was actually introduced to the world in early September, including the name Liaoning. The hull of a Ukrainian carrier was the base of the ship, and previously, Western media had speculated that the carrier would be called Shi Lang, after an admiral of the Qing Dynasty. Shi Lang took 300 ships and 20,000 troops to defeat the Zheng Family, the rulers of Taiwan, in the Battle of Penghu.
However, the question is now how well equipped China is to use their newest naval centerpiece and whether they will be able to wield the power of having a carrier effectively. In fact, this was exactly what Major General Qian Lihua said in November of 2008: "The question is not whether you have an aircraft carrier, but what you do with your aircraft carrier."
Gabriel Legend covers a variety of current event topics for Gather News, and writes horror fiction as well. You can follow him on Twitter (@GabeLegend) for the latest breaking news as it happens, or visit his personal website here.