President hands ship's flag to commander of first domestically designed, built flattop
China commissioned the CNS Shandong — its second aircraft carrier and the first such ship wholly designed and built domestically — on Tuesday afternoon at a naval base in Sanya, Hainan province.
President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, took part in the commissioning ceremony of the Type 002 class vessel named after the eastern province of Shandong. Xi personally handed the new ship's flag to Senior Captain Lai Yijun, its commanding officer.
A total of 5,000 personnel from the People's Liberation Army Navy and defense contractors involved in the ship's construction took part in the ceremony, which began around 4 pm.
The move brought China into an elite club of world powers that operate multiple carriers. Before China, there were only three countries with more than one carrier in active service — the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy.