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Taiwan scrambled jets and navy ships on Wednesday as a group of Chinese warships led by China’s sole aircraft carrier sailed north through the Taiwan Strait, the latest sign of heightened tensions between Beijing and the self-ruled Taiwan.
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, Taiwan’s defense ministry said.
As a result Taiwan scrambled jets and navy ships to “surveil and control” the passage of the Chinese ships through the narrow body of water separating Taiwan and China, Taiwan defense ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi said.
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, he said.
Taiwan’s top policymaker for China affairs on Wednesday urged Beijing to resume dialogue with Taipei, after official communication channels were halted by Beijing from June.
“I want to emphasize our government has sufficient capability to protect our national security. It’s not necessary to overly panic,” said Chang Hsiao-yueh, minister for Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, during a news briefing in response to reporters’ questions on the Liaoning’s movements.
“On the other hand, any threats would not benefit cross-Strait ties,” she said.
China has said 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.
On the weekend, a Chinese bomber flew around the Spratly Islands in a show of “strategic force”, a US official said on Tuesday. (Reuters)