China is ready to launch its first domestically built aircraft carrier, known as the Type 001A, on Dec. 26 to mark the 122th birthday of Mao Zedong, according to Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao.
President Xi Jinping reportedly visited the Dalian Shipyard to inspect the progress of work on the carrier in August.
Previous reports with photographs, dating from June, show the beginnings of the hull of what has been called the Type 001A carrier taking form in the Dalian shipyard. The photographs suggest work on the ship was proceeding quickly, as the lines are now a lot clearer than they were in previous photographs that emerged in April and the ship appears to have adopted a relatively rare bow flare design. Assembly should have begun in August.