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Taiwan scrambled jets Wednesday as China’s sole aircraft carrier led Chinese warships through the Taiwan Strait amid heightened tensions between the mainland and self-governing island it claims as its own territory, Reuters reported.
A ministry statement said the Liaoning was traveling northwest along the center line dividing the strait, along with its battle group.
Military - Vessels - Passage - Taiwan - Planes
It said the military was closely monitoring the vessels’ passage and urged the public not to be alarmed. Taiwan regularly dispatches planes and ships to keep a watchful eye on Chinese forces’ movements around the island, although the ministry statement gave no details about the military’s response.
The heavily trafficked 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait separates Taiwan from southeastern China.
Carrier - Way - Journey - Western - Pacific
The carrier was on its way back from its first journey to the Western Pacific, where it carried out a training exercise.
Based on a Soviet-built platform and commissioned in 2012, the Liaoning earlier this month carried out what Beijing called routine combat drills in the South China Sea which Beijing claims almost in its entirety and has fortified with man-made islands. That followed China’s November declaration that the carrier and its complement of J-15 fighter jets was combat ready, setting off jitters in an already tense region.
Liaoning - Western - Pacific - Month - Miyako
The Liaoning set off for the Western Pacific last month, passing through the Miyako Strait, south of Okinawa, and then the Bashi Channel separating Taiwan from the Philippines as it entered the South China Sea.
Japanese and Taiwanese surveillance aircraft and ships closely monitored the Liaoning along its journey, seen by some as a sign...
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