Taiwan warns of growing China threat

Miranda GreerDec 28, 2016

The Ministry of National Defense said Monday that the Liaoning and accompanying ships were sailing 20 nautical miles outside Taiwan's air defense identification zone in the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines at around 8 p.m. Sunday. China, however, has always considered the use of force to bring Taiwan back under its control.

Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) confirmed Tuesday that Taiwanese fighter jets were deployed and took photos of China's first aircraft carrier as it sailed in waters off eastern Taiwan recently.

Taiwan's Defense Ministry said Tuesday that a Chinese aircraft carrier that sailed through the South China Sea earlier this week is expected to arrive at a naval base in China's southern island province of Hainan in the evening. This claim has been recognized by the USA since 1979.

The Pentagon did not directly comment on the latest drill, but said the United States recognises the lawful use of sea and air space in accordance with worldwide law.

Last December, China's Defence Ministry confirmed that it was building a second aircraft carrier, but its launch date is unclear.

"We continue to closely monitor developments in the region".

Part of the defense policy indicates that the "U.S. Department of Defense should conduct a program of senior military exchanges between the United States and Taiwan".

Three destroyers and two frigates accompanied the aircraft carrier.

Tensions between Taiwan and China have risen sharply since Tsai's presidential victory in January. Beijing has cut off official communication with her government after it refused to publicly accept the "one China" concept.

"When China's aircraft carrier fleet appears in offshore areas of the U.S. one day, it will trigger intense thinking about maritime rules".

China and Taiwan have over the years tried to poach each other's allies, often dangling generous aid packages in front of developing nations. Beijing sees the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification - by force if necessary - though the two sides have been ruled separately since 1949.

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