Apr 06, 2021 12:38 UTC
  • China’s navy says ongoing drills near Taiwan to become regular

China says the sailing of a Chinese carrier group near self-ruled Taiwan is part of naval drills that will become regular.

China’s navy said late on Monday that the carrier group, led by China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was carrying out “routine” drills in the waters near the self-ruled island.

The aim is to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests,” the navy said, adding, “Similar exercises will be conducted on a regular basis in the future.”

China’s official newspaper, Global Times, said the Nanchang, the first of a powerful new fleet of Type 055 destroyers that entered service last year, was part of the carrier group.

“The combination of aircraft carriers and Type 055 large destroyers will become a standard configuration of Chinese aircraft carrier task groups in the future,” it wrote.

The navy made the statement after Taiwan accused China of carrying out “a new incursion” into the island’s self-designated air defense identification zone on Monday.

China, which has sovereignty over Taiwan, had said previoulsy that the drills conducted in the region were part of normal arrangements made by Beijing.

Under the internationally-recognized “One China” policy, nearly all countries recognize China’s sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan. But the island’s current president, Tsai Ing-wen, has separatist ambitions. She has been overseeing a revamp of the island’s military, rolling out new equipment such as “carrier killer” stealth corvettes.