Asia

China says aircraft carrier now ready for combat

  • FILE - In this May 2012 file photo provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning cruises for a test in the sea. The Liaoning's political commissar Senior Captain Li Dongyou said China's first aircraft carrier is now ready to engage in combat, marking a milestone for a navy that has invested heavily in its ability to project power far from China's shores. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Tang, File)

    FILE - In this May 2012 file photo provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning cruises for a test in the sea. The Liaoning's political commissar Senior Captain Li Dongyou said China's first aircraft carrier is now ready to engage in combat, marking a milestone for a navy that has invested heavily in its ability to project power far from China's shores. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Tang, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this undated file photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, China's aircraft carrier Liaoning berths in a port of China. The Liaoning's political commissar Senior Captain Li Dongyou said China's first aircraft carrier is now ready to engage in combat, marking a milestone for a navy that has invested heavily in its ability to project power far from China's shores. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Tang, File)

    FILE - In this undated file photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, China's aircraft carrier Liaoning berths in a port of China. The Liaoning's political commissar Senior Captain Li Dongyou said China's first aircraft carrier is now ready to engage in combat, marking a milestone for a navy that has invested heavily in its ability to project power far from China's shores. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Tang, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this file photo released by China's Xinhua news agency Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is anchored in the northern port in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province. The Liaoning's political commissar Senior Captain Li Dongyou said China's first aircraft carrier is now ready to engage in combat, marking a milestone for a navy that has invested heavily in its ability to project power far from China's shores. (AP Photo/Xinhua/Wu Dengfeng, File)

    FILE - In this file photo released by China's Xinhua news agency Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is anchored in the northern port in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province. The Liaoning's political commissar Senior Captain Li Dongyou said China's first aircraft carrier is now ready to engage in combat, marking a milestone for a navy that has invested heavily in its ability to project power far from China's shores. (AP Photo/Xinhua/Wu Dengfeng, File)  (The Associated Press)

China's first aircraft carrier is now ready to engage in combat, a change from its past status as a platform for testing and training.

The Liaoning's political commissar said in an interview with Tuesday's Global Times newspaper that his ship is "constantly prepared to fight against enemies."

Senior Captain Li Dongyou's comments appear to indicate that the ship has taken on its full aviation complement. Purchased as an incomplete hull from Ukraine more than a decade ago, it was commissioned in 2013.

China hasn't described specifically how it intends to use the Liaoning, but it is seen as helping reinforce China's increasingly assertive claims in the South China Sea in the face of challenges from the U.S. Navy and others.

China is currently building its second aircraft carrier.