China and Taiwan garnered more tension when the latter sent navy ships and jets while China sailed through the Taiwan Strait. On Wednesday, a group of Chinese warships, led by its sole aircraft carrier, passed through the said waterway.
Tension in the Taiwan Strait
The Taiwan Strait is composed of a 180 kilometer-wide waterway separating Taiwan from China. Liaoning, China’s sole carrier, started its first exercise late December, claimed to be “part of its annual training.”
After the exercises in the South China Sea, China’s Liaoning carrier did not encroach Taiwan’s territorial waters. According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, China entered its air defense identification zone in the southwest.
The move raised tensions as Taiwan sprawled jets and navy ships to “surveil and control” the passage. Additionally, as per Taiwan defense ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi, his country’s military ships have been deployed to follow the group.
Chen said the Chinese carrier group was sailing up the west side of the median line of the strait. Taiwan’s top policymaker for China affairs reportedly urged Beijing to continue the dialogue, as reported by China Post. Beijing has suspended the official communication channels since June.
“I want to emphasize our government has sufficient capability to protect our national security. It’s not necessary to overly panic,” said the minister for Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, Chang Hsiao-yueh, during a media briefing. “On the other hand, any threats would not benefit cross-Strait ties.”
Taiwan Strait Crisis
Over the weekend, a Chinese bomber flew around the Spratlys Islands, noting it’s a “strategic force,” a U.S. official said on Tuesday. China’s latest exercises have enervated its neighbors, especially Taiwan, which the former claims as its own.
Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said that his country’s ships “couldn’t always remain in port” and the navy had to enhance its capabilities.
It's normal for aircraft carrier Liaoning to cross Taiwan Strait during training exercises, will not affect cross-strait ties: Vice FM, Wed pic.twitter.com/PlGCAEfxTt
— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) January 11, 2017