Taiwan reports the presence of the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong in the strait
“A three-ship PLA (People’s Liberation Army) flotilla led by the aircraft carrier Shandong passed through the Taiwan Strait around noon today,” the island’s ministry said in a statement. The ships headed “northward west of the median line,” referring to this invisible border unilaterally drawn by the United States during the Cold War that Beijing refuses to recognize. While the presence of Chinese warships in the Taiwan Strait is constantly monitored and announced almost daily by Taipei, the aircraft carrier Shandong is unusual.
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Taiwan’s armed forces “monitored the situation and tasked (civilian air patrol) aircraft, navy ships and land-based missile systems to respond to these activities,” the island’s ministry said.
According to the island’s defense ministry, 33 warplanes and 10 ships were “detected at 6 am” on Saturday. The day before, 11 ships were near Taiwanese waters. Since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, China has viewed Taiwan as a province that it has yet to successfully reunite with the rest of its territory.
show of strength
Relations between Beijing and Taipei, which were at an all-time low since Xi Jinping came to power more than 10 years ago, have deteriorated in recent years as China ramped up military incursions around the island.
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This latest show of force from Beijing comes just a month after the end of its major Chinese military maneuvers around the island in April, which aimed to encircle Taiwan for three days. During these exercises, Beijing conducted targeted bombardments against the autonomous island and enclave of Taiwan, whose officials detected 12 Chinese warships and 91 aircraft on the last day of operations.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said at the time that the fighters were also deployed from China’s aircraft carrier Shandong and crossed the middle line. The military maneuvers by China came days after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, to which Beijing promised to respond.