China’s first refurbished aircraft carrier will be used only for research and training, according to a defence ministry spokesman, Geng Yansheng.

“Building an aircraft carrier is extremely complex and at present we are using a scrapped aircraft carrier platform to carry out refurbishment for the purposes of technological research, experiments and training,” Geng added.

The nation had been rebuilding an aircraft carrier it had bought more than a decade ago from Ukraine in 1998.

According to recent media reports the carrier could begin sea trials this summer.

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Xinhua news agency quoted PLA Navy’s Academic Research Institute researcher Cao Weidong as saying the carrier was a conventionally-powered medium-sized carrier equipped with indigenous Chinese engines, ship-borne aircraft, radar and other hardware.