Taiwan conducted military drills off coast of Penghu despite Chinese flotilla: Report

TAIPEI (The China Post/Asia News Network) - Taiwan's military announced that it had held air and sea exercises off the coast of Penghu, shortly after a Chinese warship flotilla passed through the Taiwan Strait.

The military did not specify when the exercises took place, but Taiwan's Central News Agency cited unnamed sources as saying that they occurred at the same time a Chinese battleship formation passed through the strait en route to Hong Kong over the weekend.

China's aircraft carrier fleet will make a port call in Hong Kong to mark the 20th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison.

The Liaoning fleet will be open to the public in Hong Kong and showcase the "military might" of the Chinese naval force, China's official Xinhua news agency citied Yang Liang, China's People's Liberation Army Navy spokesman, as saying.

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It is due to arrive on Friday (July 7), Hong Kong media said.

The formation comprises the CNS Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier; the CNS Jinan and CNS Yinchuan missile destroyers; the CNS Yantai missile frigate; and J-15 carrier-borne fighter jets and helicopters, the China Daily reported.

Taiwan's military released a statement on Tuesday (July 4), saying that the Chief of General Staff Lee Hsi-ming oversaw drills that involved seven Navy warships, S-70C anti-submarine helicopters and P-3C anti-submarine aircraft.

During the tour, Lee had said "there were no holidays in combat readiness", calling on service members to fulfil their duties to protect Taiwan, according to the statement.

Lee also visited the Air Force base in Magong and told its ground crew that they must be combat ready at all times, in terms of both their mentality and training.

A Chinese fleet entered Taiwan's air defence identification zone at about 4 pm on Saturday and continued to sail south-west along the Taiwan Strait until exiting the ADIZ slightly later than expected at 9.30 pm the next day, according to Taiwan's military.

Lee visited the Air Force in Chiayi after the joint exercise in Penghu and reviewed emergency take-off training of F-16 fighter jets at the base.