DALIAN, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- China's first aircraft carrier was delivered and commissioned to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Tuesday after years of refitting and sea trials.
Overseen by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, the carrier was officially handed over by the navy's main contractor, the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, at a ceremony held at a naval base in northeast China's city of Dalian.
President Hu, also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), endorsed a PLA flag and naming certificate to the naval unit that received the carrier.
The carrier, formerly known as the Soviet ship Varyag, was renamed Liaoning and underwent years of refitting efforts to install engines, weapons, as well as a year-long sea trial.
The ceremony made China the tenth country around the world and the last among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to have an aircraft carrier in active service.
Premier Wen said in reading off a congratulatory letter sent from top central authorities that China's first aircraft carrier in active service will "be of great and far-reaching significance in inspiring patriotism, national spirit and driving national defense technologies."
"It will also be of great significance in enhancing national defense power and the country's comprehensive strength," Premier Wen said.
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