TAIPEI – The Taiwanese government announced on Wednesday that Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning and its escort warships entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone at 7:00 a.m. local time (2300 GMT Tuesday) and sailed in the Taiwan Strait in the northwest direction.
“The Army remains on alert,” the island’s defense ministry said in a statement.
The Taiwanese military will follow the group of Chinese warships throughout its journey through the Taiwan Strait and will take all necessary measures, the statement added.
The Chinese aircraft carrier, after passing along Taiwan’s east and south coast in the direction to the South China Sea, where it carried out military maneuvers, returned through the Taiwan Straits towards its base in the port of Qingdao, north of China.
The crossing through the strait takes place in a time of tension between China and Taiwan following Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s call to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Dec. 2, 2016.
Tsai is currently on a visit to Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador, with stops in the United States that Beijing tried to block.
In early January, the United States sent the Carl Wilson aircraft carrier to the South China Sea, accompanied by USS Lake Champlain (CG-57), a Ticonderoga-class cruiser and the USS Wayne E Meyer (DDG- 108), an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, among others.
Carl Wilson joined the two other U.S. aircraft carriers and sent more than a hundred U.S. fighter jets in the South China Sea disputed area, where Beijing has built artificial islands and increased its military presence.