1000 GMT August 18, 2017
Chen Chung-chi, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry spokesman, said Taiwanese jets and ships were scrambled on Wednesday to “surveil and control” the passage of the Chinese ships through the straight, which separates Taiwan and China.
According to Chen, China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier was not trespassing on Taiwan’s territorial waters but entered its air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
“We have full grasp of its movements,” Chen said, referring to the Chinese fleet.
China had previously said that the aircraft career was on drills to test weapons and equipment in the South China Sea and that it had to enjoy freedom of navigation according to law.
China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea, while some of its neighbors including Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, and Malaysia also have rival claims.
After the Wednesday naval development, Taiwan’s top policymaker for Chinese affairs warned that Taipei “has sufficient capability to protect our national security.”
Threats “would not benefit Cross-Strait ties,” said Chang Hsiao-yueh.
Last month, China's air force conducted drills above the East and South China seas, describing them as routine.
China and Taiwan are physically separated by the Taiwan Strait in the west Pacific Ocean. They split politically following the 1927-1950 Chinese Civil War and there have been no formal cross-strait diplomatic relations ever since.
Tensions have seen an increase across the Taiwan Strait recently. US President-elect Donald Trump has been calling into question Washington’s decades-long “One China” policy — which recognizes Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan — emboldening Taiwan’s independence bid. China is strictly opposed to any such scenario, and Chinese officials have reacted heatedly to Trump’s rhetoric about Taiwan and China.