- Title: Taiwan says Chinese aircraft carrier passes south of island
- Date: 26th December 2016
- Summary: TAIPEI, TAIWAN (DECEMBER 26, 2016) (REUTERS) **** WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY **** PARLIAMENT SESSION IN PROGRESS TAIWAN FOREIGN MINISTER, DAVID LEE, LISTENING AND LOOKING ON LEGISLATOR ASKING QUESTION REPORTER WORKING ON LAPTOP (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) DEPUTY HEAD OF TAIWAN'S NATIONAL SECURITY BUREAU, CHOU MEI-WU, SAYING: "It (the aircraft carrier) came down from the east, from Miyakojima, passing us (Taiwan) by and then approaching Philippine waters. Then it continued towards the south-west, towards the South China Sea." LAWMAKER ASKING: "So it won't pass through the Taiwan Strait?" CHOU: "It won't, not presently." LAWMAKER ASKING: "So it will go back passing (Taiwan's) east coast?" CHOU: "I don't know." LAWMAKER SAYING: "You don't know?" CHOU: "I don't know." LAWMAKER SAYING: "When will they leave, are we aware?" CHOU: "(We are) completely aware." LAWMAKER ASKING QUESTION (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) DEPUTY HEAD OF TAIWAN'S NATIONAL SECURITY BUREAU, CHOU MEI-WU, SAYING: "Looking at its (the aircraft carrier's) complete route this time, because there are other frigates accompanying it, there were no such actions during the previous 25 sea drills. It happened previously, but it was divided into air, sea and escort, some of which were for replenishment. This time it came out of Bohai Bay, moving directly towards waters close to Miyakojima. During the two days of drills, we saw the whole situation." PHOTOGRAPHERS TAKING PICTURES SESSION IN PROGRESS
- Embargoed: 10th January 2017 05:27
- Keywords: Taiwan China aircraft carier disputes conflict territorial disputes defence
- Location: TAIPEI, TAIWAN
- City: TAIPEI, TAIWAN
- Country: Taiwan
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0015EIS6YT
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A group of Chinese warships led by the country's sole aircraft carrier has passed through waters south of Taiwan and is heading southwest, Taiwan's defence ministry said on Monday (December 26) of what China has termed a routine exercise.
The ministry said the aircraft carrier the Liaoning, accompanied by five other vessels, had passed 90 nautical miles south of Taiwan's southernmost point on Monday morning via the Bashi Channel, between Taiwan and the Philippines.
"It (the aircraft carrier) came down from the east, from Miyakojima, passing us (Taiwan) by and then approaching Philippine waters. Then it continued towards the south-west, towards the South China Sea," asid Chou Mei-wu, the deputy head of Taiwan's National Security Bureau during parliamentary session, adding that they were continuing to monitor the situation, and that the exercise was unprecedented due to the other frigates accompanying the aircraft carrier.
The exercise comes amid renewed tension over self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, following U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's telephone call with the island's president that upset Beijing.
Senior Taiwan opposition Nationalist lawmaker Johnny Chiang said the Liaoning exercise was China's signal to the United States that it has broken through the "first island chain", an area that includes Japan's Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan.
In Beijing, influential state-run tabloid the Global Times said the exercise showed how the carrier was improving its combat capabilities and that it should now sail even further afield.
China has been angered recently by U.S. naval patrols near islands that China claims in the South China Sea. This month, a Chinese navy ship seized a U.S. underwater drone in the South China Sea. China later returned it.
Japan said late on Sunday it had spotted six Chinese naval vessels including the Liaoning travelling through the passage between Miyako and Okinawa and into the Pacific.
Japan's top government spokesman said on Monday the voyage showed China's expanding military capability and Japan was closely monitoring it.
China's air force conducted long-range drills this month above the East and South China Seas that rattled Japan and Taiwan. China said those exercises were also routine.
China's Soviet-built Liaoning aircraft carrier has taken part in previous exercises, including some in the South China Sea, but China is years away from perfecting carrier operations similar to those the United States has practised for decades.
Last December, the defence ministry confirmed China was building a second aircraft carrier but its launch date is unclear. The aircraft carrier programme is a state secret.
Beijing could build multiple aircraft carriers over the next 15 years, the Pentagon said in a report last year.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None