China sailed its aircraft carrier the Shandong through waters southeast of Taiwan into the western Pacific Ocean for a long-range exercise yesterday, the Ministry of National Defense said in a news release.
The ministry said it keeps close tabs on Chinese military activity through joint intelligence and surveillance.
Early yesterday it tracked the Shandong as it passed through the waterway 60 nautical miles (111km) southeast of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), Taiwan’s southernmost tip, and headed east into the western Pacific Ocean for a long-range training session in the area.
Photo: Reuters / Joint Staff Office of the Japanese Ministry of Defense
The Shandong, the second of China’s two aircraft carriers, was the first to be domestically built, after being commissioned in 2019.
The ministry said it also tracked a total of 13 military aircraft and drones, including J-16s, Su-30s and Shaanxi KJ-500s, flying near Taiwan’s airspace from 5:40am.
Eleven of the 13 crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered the southwestern part of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), it said.
From 6am on Sunday to 5am yesterday, 26 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) warplanes and 13 warships were detected around Taiwan, the ministry said.
Of the 26 aircraft, 11 crossed the median line and entered the southwestern part of Taiwan’s ADIZ.
“The military is closely monitoring the situation and has tasked aircraft, navy vessels and land-based missile systems to respond,” the ministry said.
Chieh Chung (揭仲), an associate research fellow at the National Policy Foundation in Taipei, said that continued recent incursions by PLA aircraft were meant to pressure and provoke Taiwan, and were in response to the Taiwan Strait transit by a US destroyer and a Canadian frigate made on Saturday.
The US Navy had said that the transit “demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific” region.
In response, China on Saturday said its troops were “on constant high alert.”
The US and Western allies have increased freedom of navigation crossings of the Taiwan Strait and the disputed South China Sea to reinforce that both are international waterways, angering Beijing.
Additional reporting by AFP
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