US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was given a two-hour tour of China’s new aircraft carrier at its base in the eastern port city of Qingdao on Monday, the first China has granted to a foreign official, the Wall Street Journal reported. The visit to Liaoning, a refurbished Ukrainian ship that is the centerpiece of the county’s naval ambitions, provided Hagel and other American officials with a rare opportunity to assess its capabilities and Chinese military development, according to the newspaper. Chinese officials compared their carrier development to the beginning of the American carrier fleet in the early 1900s, US officials were quoted as saying. Joining Hagel on the tour were the US ambassador to China, former Sen. Max Baucus, and other top Pentagon officials, the report said.
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