Taiwan defense ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi on Wednesday said Taipei scrambled its jets and navy ships as a group of Chinese warships led by China’s sole aircraft carrier sailed southwest of the Taiwan Strait.
Chen said the Soviet-built Liaoning aircraft carrier, returning from exercises in the South China Sea, was not trespassing in Taiwan’s territorial waters but entered its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the southwest.
Taiwanese military aircraft and ships have been deployed to follow the carrier group, which is sailing up the west side of the median line of the strait, Chen said. “We have full grasp of its movements.”
Earlier, China has claimed the Liaoning aircraft carrier was on drills to test weapons and equipment in the disputed South China Sea and its movements comply with international law.
Pressures has stepped up on Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen after a protocol-breaking against China came up over a congratulatory telephone call between her and US President-elect Donald Trump last month.
In return, Beijing is speculating that Tsai is pushing for the island’s formal independence, a red line for the mainland, which has never renounced the use of force to bring what it deems a renegade province under its control.
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