Liaoning commissioned

Item: China commissions its "first" aircraft carrier.

While most analysts and news stories trumpet the fact that the carrier itself is not exactly the match of anything in the West (forget U.S. ships; the Garibaldi* could sink it), that really is not the significance of the ship at all.

This, though, buried deep in a NY Times story, is:

In contrast to some of the skepticism expressed by military experts outside China, Li Jie, a researcher at the Chinese Naval Research Institute, said in an interview in the state-run People’s Daily that the carrier would change the Chinese Navy’s traditional mind-set and bring qualitative changes to its operational style and structure, he said.
Although the Chinese military does not publish a breakdown of its military spending, foreign military experts say the navy is less well financed than the army and air force.
The Chinese have been very clear that this is intended only as a training vessel, one that will help prepare the way for better vessels in the future.
* The Italian Navy's light aircraft carrier. It's actually intended for anti-submarine warfare, though it can (and does) operate with Harrier aircraft.

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