Amid tensions with Taiwan, reports indicated that China has sent an aircraft carrier battle group through the Pacific Ocean.
Japan’s defence ministry had said China had sent the Liaoning aircraft carrier along with Nanchang destroyer including a supply ship
China’s state-run Global Times newspaper said the carrier group conducted “vessel-based helicopter takeoff and landing exercises in the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean”.
The Chinese newspaper citing Japan’s defence ministry said China’s destroyer Xiamen also took a similar route in the Pacific Ocean. The newspaper quoting analysts said it was a “routine exercise” that could lead to military drills near Taiwan and the disputed South China Sea.
A PLA spokesperson had said earlier that the Liaoning carrier group had conducted military exercises near an island in Taiwan to “enhance capability” and “to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests.”
The development comes after Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius passed through the Taiwan Strait last month.
The US Seventh Fleet had said it demonstrated the “US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific”. The US views Taiwan Straits as part of international waters even as China’s foreign ministry lashed out at the move calling it an “attempt to disrupt and undermine regional peace and stability”.
China had sent a record number of warplanes to Taiwan’s air defence zone in the past two months amid tensions with President Tsai’s regime. According to reports, the US warships have sailed through the Taiwan Straits on eleven occasions this year.