China's third aircraft carrier starts sea trials: state media

Chinese media say the country's third aircraft carrier has set out for its first sea trials. The move will likely increase the wariness of the United States and put pressure on Taiwan's incoming government, observers say.

State-run China Central Television reported that the Fujian left a shipyard in Shanghai on Wednesday morning.

This is the first report of the Fujian undergoing sea trials. The vessel was launched in 2022.

Fujian is larger than the country's two other carriers already in service. The new vessel is believed capable of carrying more aircraft than the others.

Media say the Fujian is the first carrier in China that is equipped with catapults. The electromagnetic-powered devices allow aircraft to accelerate when taking off. The vessel is expected to enable the use of various types of planes.

The Fujian is believed to be deployed with the Navy's East Fleet, which takes charge of the East China Sea, including Taiwan. A few sessions of test navigation will be the final preparations for the vessel to enter into service.

China Central Television reported that with the three vessels, China will be able to constantly deploy aircraft carriers at waters of its interest by conducting operations, training and repair work simultaneously.

Chinese leaders under President Xi Jinping apparently hope to keep the US in check by showing the steady buildup of capabilities toward the goal to create a world-class military.

China is also believed to want to pressure Taiwan since it views incoming President Lai Ching-te as a separatist. Lai will be inaugurated on May 20.