Taipei deploys ships, jets after passage of Chinese aircraft carrier through Taiwan Strait
Taipei [Taiwan], December 21 : Amid strained ties with China, Taiwan has put on alert and deployed its ships and jets over the passage of Chinese aircraft carrier the Shandong, which was accompanied by four warships, through the Taiwan Strait.
According to Taipei, six warships and eight aircraft were sent out to “stand guard” as the Chinese carrier group sailed through the strait, Sputnik reported.
“With the support of the people, the national armed forces have the confidence and ability to guard the homeland, and ensure national security and safeguard regional peace and stability”, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said in regards to the incident.
Beijing did not comment on the news of the Shandong, the latest addition to its small fleet of aircraft carriers, crossing the Taiwan Strait.
It did, however, condemn the passage through the said waterway by the American destroyer USS Mustin on December 19. The Chinese military’s Eastern Theatre Command slammed it as an attempt to send “flirtatious glances” at forces that seek Taiwan’s “independence” and added that the Chinese PLA’s forces have been “tailing” the warship’s movements.
For several months, China’s People’s Liberation Army has been increasing military pressure on the island, sending warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone and stepping up military exercises on nearby islands, moves widely interpreted as a threat to Taipei, reported CNN.
In order to bolster its defensive capabilities, Taiwan is building a submarine fleet to mitigate Chinese nefarious designs to invade the island or install a naval blockade.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has already made his intentions clear about Taiwan as he has vowed to never allow the island to become independent and has refused to rule out the use of force if necessary.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades, reported CNN.