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.
CAMBODIAN CON: The two men filmed videos with made-up content with a focus on purported human trafficking, beatings and sexual assaults by scammers Cambodian authorities yesterday sentenced two Taiwanese to two years in prison and a NT$30,000 fine each for staging a kidnapping in the southern coastal city of Sihanoukville which they live streamed online. Chen Neng-chuan (陳能釧), 31, and Lu Tsu-hsien (魯祖顯), 34, were convicted of inciting and causing social disorder a day after Cambodian police officials convened a news conference about their arrest. Chen, who goes by the online name “Goodnight Chicken” (晚安小雞), and Lu, known by the handle “Anow” (阿鬧), must each pay 4 million riels (US$982), according to a court filing. The court said the duo arrived in the Cambodian capital, Phnom
TAKE PRECAUTIONS: Never hike alone and prepare food, water and appropriate equipment for Taiwan’s mountains, particularly in the winter, officials said Two mountain hikers were rescued yesterday, a day after a body was airlifted out of Yushan National Park, one of several deaths related to mountaineering or hiking in the past two weeks, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday. A Nantou County mountain rescue team called for a helicopter while responding to a call yesterday morning. They said a woman surnamed Chen (陳), 31, and a man surnamed Lin (林), 32, got lost in the mountains around the Batongguan Historic Trail (八通關古道), while traveling west toward Dongpu Township (東埔). They were directed to a nearby alpine meadow, where the helicopter landed with four
‘CORRECT CALL’: The navy said the captain was right to send crew out to fix an issue with a buoy, and that the buckles connecting two of them to the safety line came loose Equipment and environmental reasons, not human error, were to blame for the loss of three submariners on Dec. 21 last year, the navy said yesterday. The navy would not punish any of the Hai Hu’s (海虎) crew after an investigation determined that the captain was correct in sending crew to retrieve a safety buoy, it said in a news release. Three crew members — a master chief petty officer surnamed Lin (林) and two petty officers surnamed Yen (顏) and Chang (張) — are still unaccounted for after being swept from the submarine’s deck by a wave while trying to retrieve the
Individual tourists who arrive in Taiwan from tomorrow are eligible to receive limited-edition lucky bags to mark the Lantern Festival, Tourism Administration officials said yesterday. The Lantern Festival-themed lucky bags each contain a Year of the Dragon red envelope, a mini lantern, a NT$300 coupon for an amusement park ticket and a NT$500 Taiwan PASS coupon, the officials said. To get a lucky bag, visitors must present a passport or residence certificate and proof of their date of entry at a tourism center at either terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) or Kaohsiung International Airport, they said. The