China Says Carrier Group Exercising near Taiwan, Drills Will Become Regular
Story Code : 925608
Taiwan has complained of an increase in Chinese military activity near it in recent months, as China steps up efforts to assert its sovereignty over the democratically run island.
China’s navy said the carrier group, led by the Liaoning, the country’s first aircraft carrier put into active service, was carrying out “routine” drills in the waters near Taiwan, Reuters reported.
The aim is to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests”, it added.
“Similar exercises will be conducted on a regular basis in the future,” the navy said, without elaborating.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it had a “full grasp” of the situation in the air and at sea surrounding Taiwan and that it was “appropriately handling” the matter.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that the Liaoning, accompanied by five escort ships, had transited the Miyako Strait on their way to the Pacific.
China’s statement follows Taiwan’s Defense Ministry reporting a new incursion by China’s air force into the island’s air defense identification zone on Monday.
The Liaoning and its sister ship the Shandong have carried out drills or sailed near Taiwan before.
In December 2019, shortly before presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan, China’s newest aircraft carrier, the Shandong, sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, a move condemned by Taiwan as attempted intimidation.
Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue and a potential military flashpoint. China has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen is overseeing a revamp of the island’s military, rolling out new equipment such as “carrier killer” stealth corvettes.