A Ministry of National Defense official yesterday said that Chinese officials might send its sole aircraft carrier to cruise the Taiwan Strait during President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) nine-day overseas state visit to Central America, scheduled to begin on Saturday.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy carrier group — comprised of the ex-Soviet carrier Liaoning and its five escorts — is conducting maritime exercises in South China Sea, but it could engage in a show-of-force operation along the Taiwan Strait’s median line on its return voyage to China, an official said on condition of anonymity.
The Chinese aircraft carrier group sailed through waters east of Taiwan late last month, following several training missions conducted by the Chinese military that circled Taiwanese airspace over the past few months, causing regional tensions to flare.
Photo taken from the Chinese Ministry of National Defense
If the Liaoning were to cruise along the median line it would be the first time it had done so with aircraft onboard, the official said, adding that its current complement of aircraft include at least 10 Shenyang J-15 fighter aircraft and an unknown number of Z-10 attack helicopters.
“Any exercise the Chinese carrier conducts involving J-15 flight operations will put aircraft at close proximity with our air interception zone and pose a significant threat to Taiwanese air defenses,” the official said.
In addition to the Chinese carrier, the group is suited for military intimidation because three out of its five escort warships are equipped with active phased array radars, which are significantly more advanced than the radars of other Chinese navy ships, the official said.
Despite resembling a US navy carrier strike group, the Chinese carrier group does not possess the former’s combat power, as its carrier and aircraft are not rated for nighttime flight operations, which is disadvantageous for the overall effectiveness of the carrier group, the official said.
The military is closely monitoring the movement of the Chinese carrier group and if it approaches the Taiwan Strait, the armed forces are to begin patrolling appropriate sea and air zones with maritime patrol aircraft, fighters and warships, and put ground-based missile batteries on alert, the official said.
Later yesterday, the Ministry of National Defense issued a statement saying it would not comment on speculation about the time or route of the Liaoning’s return to China, adding that the military is monitoring the carrier and prepared to respond appropriately to Chinese actions.
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South