China’s second aircraft carrier enters service: state media

China’s first aircraft carrier — the Liaoning, above, is a repurposed Soviet carrier bought from Ukraine that went into service in 2012. (AFP)
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Updated 17 December 2019

China’s second aircraft carrier enters service: state media

  • Commissioning of the ship, which has been named the Shandong, puts China in a small club of nations with multiple aircraft carriers
  • China has one other carrier, the Liaoning, a repurposed Soviet carrier bought from Ukraine

BEIJING: China’s second aircraft carrier entered service on Tuesday, adding major firepower to its military ambitions as it faces tensions with self-ruled Taiwan as well as the US and regional neighbors around the disputed South China Sea.
The commissioning of the ship, which has been named the Shandong, puts China in a small club of nations with multiple aircraft carriers and the country is reportedly building a third.
China’s first domestically built carrier was delivered and commissioned to the People’s Liberation Army navy in Sanya, on the southern island of Hainan, at a ceremony attended by President Xi Jinping, state media said.
Hainan province is in the South China Sea east of Vietnam, which has competing claims in the waterway along with China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei.
In November China confirmed that the ship had sailed through the Taiwan Strait for “routine” training and tests, drawing the ire of Taipei.
China, which sees democratic Taiwan as part of its territory, has stepped up military drills around the island since Beijing-skeptic President Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election, came to power in 2016.
China has one other carrier — the Liaoning, a repurposed Soviet carrier bought from Ukraine that went into service in 2012.


Ukraine to press for plane crash black boxes as Iran minister visits

Updated 20 January 2020

Ukraine to press for plane crash black boxes as Iran minister visits

  • Ukraine’s foreign minister said returning the black boxes would show that Iran wanted an unbiased investigation of the crash
  • The plane disaster has heightened international pressure on Iran

KIEV: Ukraine will press Iran to hand over the black boxes from the crash of a Ukrainian passenger plane at a meeting with a visiting Iranian delegation on Monday, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told reporters.
Ukraine would convey the message to visiting Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami, that returning the black boxes would show that Iran wanted an unbiased investigation of the crash, Prystaiko said.
“His main task is to apologize and acknowledge what happened. We hope that we can go a little further than just political discussions and discuss practical problems. Among them in particular is the return of the black boxes,” Prystaiko said.
Iran had said on Sunday it was trying to analyze the black boxes from the airliner its military shot down this month, denying an earlier report it would hand them to Ukraine. All 176 aboard the flight died.
“At first they stated that they were handing them over, then the same person stated that they were not handing them over. This created some misunderstanding in Ukraine and we were starting to be asked: are they being handed over or not?“
Many of those killed had were Iranians with dual citizenship, but Iran does not recognize dual nationality and on Monday said it would treat the victims as Iranian nationals.
Canada, which had 57 citizens on the flight, said there were still no firm plans for downloading the recorders. Ottawa and other capitals have called for the black boxes to be sent abroad.
The Jan. 8 plane disaster has heightened international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long-running dispute with the United States over its nuclear program and its influence in the region that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.
The Iranian military has said it downed Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 in error in the aftermath of tit-for-tat strikes by the United States and Iran. But authorities delayed admitting this, prompting days of protests on Iran’s streets.
Ukraine held a ceremony at Kiev’s Boryspil airport on Sunday as the bodies of 11 citizens, including nine crew, were returned to Ukraine.