China's first aircraft carrier on Wednesday left its shipyard in the country's northeast to start its first sea trial, the state news agency Xinhua said.
The revamped old Soviet ship's sea trial was in line with the schedule of its refitting project and would not take long, the news agency said, quoting military sources.
After returning from the trial, the carrier will continue its refit and test work, the report said, adding that the vessel had set sail from its shipyard in the city of Dalian.
The project has added to regional worries over the country's fast military expansion and growing assertiveness on territorial issues.
It also comes amid heightened tensions over a number of maritime territorial disputes involving China, notably in the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas and is claimed by several countries.
But media reports and military analysts have for years said the 300-metre (990-foot) ship was in development.
The ship, once called the Varyag, was originally built for the Soviet navy. Construction was interrupted by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
China reportedly bought the ship's immense armoured hull -- with no engine, electrics or propeller -- in 1998.
China's People's Liberation Army -- the largest armed force in the world -- is extremely secretive about its defence programmes, which benefit from a huge and expanding military budget boosted by the nation's runaway economic growth.
The PLA also
operates the country's navy.
Nope. Nothing to see here, move along folks.