A Chinese naval flotilla headed by the country’s first plane carrier passed by the eastern and southern coasts of Taiwan Sunday to perform training, the island’s defense ministry said, in the newest uptick in military tensions.
Democratically-ruled Taiwan, claimed by China as its sacred territory, has complained of an increased Chinese army presence near the island in the last few weeks and has told China it should be concentrating on fighting the new coronavirus rather than menacing the island.
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry stated the Liaoning, China’s first operational aircraft carrier, and five accompanying warships passed first through the Miyako Strait, situated between Japan’s islands of Miyako and Okinawa, to the northeast of Taiwan, on Saturday.
On Sunday, the carrier group sailed in waters on Taiwan’s east shore and then into seas to the south of Taiwan, carrying out drills, the ministry added in a statement.
In December 2019, shortly before presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan, China’s newest plane carrier, the Shandong, sailed via the sensitive Taiwan Strait, a step condemned by Taiwan as tried intimidation.
A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed through the Taiwan Strait Friday, the same day that Chinese fighter planes drilled in waters near the island.
Taiwan is China’s most sensitive border issue and a potential army flashpoint. China has by no means renounced the use of force to bring the island under its management.