Taipei, December 20
Taiwan’s navy and air force were deployed on Sunday as a Chinese aircraft carrier group led by the country’s newest carrier, the Shandong, sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, the day after a US warship transited the same waterway. While it is not the first time China’s carriers have passed close to Taiwan, it comes at a time of heightened tension between Taipei and Beijing, which claims the democratically-ruled island as its territory.
Taiwan has complained of repeated Chinese military activity, including China’s regular flying of air force aircraft near the island. China says such drills are aimed at protecting the country’s sovereignty. Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said the Shandong, which was formally commissioned almost exactly one year ago, accompanied by four warships had set out from Dalian on Thursday. After passing through the narrow Taiwan Strait on Sunday, the carrier group was continuing in a southerly direction, it added. — Reuters