A Chinese carrier group exercising near Taiwan is part of what are to be regular drills, the Chinese navy said in a statement late on Monday, further escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing.
The group, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, was conducting “routine” drills in the waters around Taiwan, a move to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests,” the statement said.
“Similar exercises will be conducted regularly,” it said, without elaborating.
The statement came after the Ministry of National Defense earlier on Monday issued a statement regarding a rise in the number of incursions by Chinese jets into its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the past few months.
The ministry said it had a “full grasp” of the situation in the air and at sea surrounding Taiwan and that it was “appropriately handling” the matter.
Beijing uses such methods to express its opposition to developments involving Taiwan, especially those with sovereignty implications.
Last week, when US Ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland visited Taiwan along with Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr, Beijing sent 10 planes into the nation’s ADIZ.
Tokyo has also voiced its concern over increased Chinese military activity, with Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi yesterday telling NHK that Japan aims to closely monitor Chinese naval and air operations in the region.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense said on Sunday that the Liaoning, accompanied by five escort ships, had transited the Miyako Strait between Saturday and Sunday on their way to the Pacific.
Kishi said that he hoped that Taiwan and China could settle their differences in a peaceful manner.
A White House spokesperson last month said that Washington would continue to assist Taiwan with means to sufficiently defend itself.
In its most recent foreign affairs and national defense talks with Japan on March 16, the US affirmed the importance of stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait.
While pledging to continue the sale of upgraded warplanes, missiles and other defensive hardware to Taiwan, the US Navy yesterday said that its Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group had entered the South China Sea on Saturday to conduct routine operations.
It is the second time the strike group has entered the area this year as part of the US 7th Fleet’s 2021 area of operations deployment.
The 7th Fleet said that the strike group would “conduct fixed and rotary-wing flight operations, maritime strike exercises, anti-submarine operations, coordinated tactical training and more” during its deployment.
Additional reporting by AP and CNA
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