China's aircraft carrier leaves Taiwan Strait

A man in Taiwan reading on Wednesday about China's aircraft carrier Liaoning passing through the Taiwan Strait. China's sole aircraft carrier left the waterway separating China from the island yesterday.
A man in Taiwan reading on Wednesday about China's aircraft carrier Liaoning passing through the Taiwan Strait. China's sole aircraft carrier left the waterway separating China from the island yesterday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

BEIJING • China's sole aircraft carrier sailed out of the Taiwan Strait yesterday, a day after Taiwan scrambled fighter jets and navy ships to shadow the carrier group through the narrow waterway separating China from the island.

China's Soviet-built Liaoning aircraft carrier, returning from exercises in the disputed South China Sea, had "meticulously operated" during the navigation of the strait, China's People's Liberation Army Navy spokesman Liang Yang said.

Taiwan said the carrier group did not pose a threat.

The Taiwan Strait passage and naval drills come at a time of heightened tension between the two sides, due to Beijing's suspicion that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen wants formal independence from China.

Taiwan had said the Chinese ships did not enter its territorial waters but did sail into its air defence identification zone.

Tensions between the two sides have played out in the strait several times, including when China conducted military exercises there in 1995 and 1996, prompting the United States to send warships to the waterway.

REUTERS, CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2017, with the headline 'China's aircraft carrier leaves Taiwan Strait'. Print Edition | Subscribe