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China on Friday launched its third and most modern aircraft carrier, a watershed moment for President Xi Jinping’s efforts to modernize the armed forces and narrow his country’s military gap with the U.S.

The new carrier, christened the Fujian, was launched from Jiangnan Shipyard near Shanghai at ceremony attended by military and civilian leaders, state broadcaster China Central Television said. The ship has an electromagnet catapult launch system — a feature previously deployed by only the U.S. — rather than the “ski jump” deck of China’s two earlier carriers, CCTV said.

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