- Title: Taiwan warns of increasing threat as Chinese warships conduct drill
- Date: 27th December 2016
- Summary: ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** TSAI BOWING TO PUBLIC BEHIND PODIUM TSAI ADDRESSING THE PUBLIC
- Embargoed: 11th January 2017 06:04
- Keywords: Taiwan China defence warships exercise
- Location: TAIPEI, TAIWAN
- City: TAIPEI, TAIWAN
- Country: Taiwan
- Topics: Defence,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0025ENS2TH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Taiwan warned on Tuesday (December 27) that "the threat of our enemies is growing day by day", as Chinese warships led by the country's sole aircraft carrier sailed towards the island province of Hainan through the South China Sea on a routine drill.
The drill comes amid renewed tension over 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.
"I would like to remind everyone that the threat of our enemy is growing day by day. We should always be maintaining our combat alertness," Taiwan Defence Minister Feng Shih-kuan said on Tuesday, during his speech at a ministry event marking the promotion of senior military officers.
"We need to strengthen the training (of our soldiers) so that they can not only survive in battle but also destroy the enemy and accomplish the mission," he said.
The Chinese warships rounded Taiwan, passing between the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa and through the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines, said Taiwan's defence ministry.
China has given few details of what the Soviet-built Liaoning aircraft carrier is up to, save that it is on a routine exercise.
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 claims most of the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.
In Taipei, a Defence Ministry official said on condition of anonymity that the Liaoning was maintaining a southwest course towards Hainan and not heading deeper into the disputed South China Sea near the Spratly Islands that lie close to the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam.
The official said the carrier had not sailed close to Itu Abu, referring to Taiwan's only holding in the Spratly Islands, and that Taipei continues to monitor its movements.
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