China’s Soviet-built aircraft carrier the Liaoning and other People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warships are to visit Hong Kong to mark the 20th anniversary of its handover from Britain to China next month, with the ships scheduled to navigate through the Taiwan Strait or through waters east of Taiwan, a Hong Kong-based newspaper said yesterday.
A Liaoning carrier group yesterday left Shandong Province’s Qingdao Port to conduct a “trans-regional exercise,” China’s Xinhua news agency said.
In addition to the Liaoning, the group is comprised of the guided-missile destroyers Jinan and Yinchuan and the guided-missile frigate Yantai, as well as other unnamed warships, Xinhua said.
The aircraft carrier group’s naval aviation unit is to comprise of Shenyang J-15 fighters and rotary-wing aircraft, it said.
However, the Xinhua report did not mention any details regarding the exercise area or whether the carrier group plans to anchor in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong-based Sing Tao Daily said the Liaoning is to visit Hong Kong next month to participate in the ceremony marking Hong Kong’s handover.
Hong Kong residents would be allowed to tour the ships and are being invited to do so to “appreciate China’s national defense capabilities,” it said.
The Liaoning is to arrive in Hong Kong immediately after Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) ends his three-day visit to the territory scheduled from Friday through Saturday, the report said.
If the Liaoning is to make a voyage to Hong Kong, it is a virtual certainty that it would sail in a carrier battle group comprised of the warships most suited to showing off China’s military capabilities to the world, Chinese naval expert Li Jie (李杰) was quoted as saying by the Global Times, a China-based newspaper with ties to the Chinese military.
The report said the Chinese Ministry of National Defense did not respond to its request for comment on the movements of the vessels.
The carrier group is likely to have about 10 warships in its formation and the Chinese military is likely to use it to fly the Chinese flag in the South China Sea, Lee told the paper.
In December last year, a naval formation consisting of China’s first and only aircraft carrier and five other vessels sailed through waters east of Taiwan and skirted Pingtung County’s Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻) on its way to conduct naval exercises in the South China Sea.
In early January, the Liaoning-led flotilla sailed up the Taiwan Strait on its return from the exercises under monitoring by the Taiwanese military, which gave local media a stream of updates on the whereabouts of the Chinese ships.
The military is keeping a close eye on the Chinese military’s movements in the region and taking necessary precautions, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said yesterday.
It is a certain that whenever an aircraft carrier is on maneuvers, it will be guarded by escorts and have aircraft on deck, a senior official said, adding that the Liaoning carrier group is a menace to Taiwan regardless of its course.
The military would monitor Chinese movements and be ready to make appropriate responses, the official said.
TRAVEL CONFERENCE: Representatives from the two countries exchanged views on how to increase tourist numbers, with one identifying individual travel as a trend Taiwan and South Korea aim to increase the number of tourists traveling between the two countries to 3 million, government and tourism industry representatives said at a conference in Hsinchu City yesterday. The annual event was attended by Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯); Tourism Bureau Director-General Chang Shi-chung (張錫聰); Taiwan Visitors Association chairwoman Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭); South Korean Representative to Taiwan Chung Byung-won; Yoon Ji-sook, an official at the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; and Korea Association of Travel Agents chairman Oh Chang-hee. Global tourism is expected to soon rebound to between 55 and
HASTY PLAN: Instructors must teach in a language they are not fluent in, while students are forced to learn new subjects in a tongue they do not know, teachers said The National Federation of Teachers Unions (NFTU) yesterday urged the government to thoroughly review its Bilingual 2030 policy, saying it has caused problems in elementary and high schools, and might affect the quality of education in other subjects. The government on March 28 changed its original “Bilingual Nation 2030” plan to the “Bilingual 2030” plan, no longer aiming to turn Taiwan into a Mandarin-English bilingual nation by 2030, NFTU president Hou Chun-liang (侯俊良) told a news conference in Taipei. Despite the change, the policy’s budget, resources and most of its content remain the same, causing unusual scenes on campuses, he said. Cheng Chi-yi
‘STILL RISKY’: The quarantine requirement for arrivals cannot be lifted, as COVID-19 cases have been rising in Europe and the US, the minister of health and welfare said The government might consider dropping a negative COVID-19 test result requirement for travelers from low-risk countries, but lifting the quarantine requirement for inbound travelers is still risky, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The CECC on Monday said it does not plan to further loosen border controls soon. National Taiwan University Children’s Hospital superintendent Huang Li-min (黃立民) said the “3+4” quarantine policy separates inbound travelers from family members for only three days, which is not enough to block the spread of the virus, so the government might consider changing it to a “0+7” policy. He also said that it might
Taiwanese singer Miu Chu (朱俐靜) passed away over the weekend after a battle with breast cancer, her family announced yesterday. She was 40 years old. The family wrote on Chu’s Facebook fan page that she died peacefully. “Thank you all for your concern. Miu, who was always full of laughter and always brought people positive energy with her music, left us peacefully on July 3,” the family said. The family asked for privacy at this time and said that details of a memorial service would be announced later. Chu was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. She was an alumna of the TV reality show