According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, accompanied by two other ships, sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday. This development marks an escalation in military tensions over the island, which Beijing claims as its own territory.
Shandong Follows Unofficial Median Line
The ministry stated that the Shandong, commissioned in 2019, followed a northerly course through the strait, adhering to the unofficial median line that acts as a barrier between the two sides. Taiwan’s military closely monitored the group using its own ships and aircraft and responded appropriately to the situation, the ministry added.
China’s Defense Ministry Remains Silent
China’s defense ministry did not provide any comments, and the country’s armed forces did not mention the sailing on their official social media channels.
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Shandong’s Participation in Military Drills and Previous Sailings
Last month, the Shandong took part in Chinese military drills conducted near Taiwan in the western Pacific. In March of the previous year, the aircraft carrier sailed through the Taiwan Strait, coinciding with scheduled talks between the Chinese and U.S. presidents.
Continued Chinese Military Activities
Despite formally ending war games last month, China has continued military activities, albeit on a smaller scale, in the vicinity of Taiwan. Taiwan’s defense ministry reported that over the past 24 hours, eight Chinese fighter jets crossed the median line of the strait—a behavior that Chinese warplanes have been engaging in regularly since previous war games in August of last year.
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China’s Stance on Taiwan
China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control. However, the government of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen strongly rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims and emphasizes that the future of the island should be decided by its people.
Escalating Tensions in the Region
The passage of the Chinese aircraft carrier and the ongoing military activities demonstrate the heightened tensions in the region. Taiwan remains vigilant and committed to safeguarding its sovereignty, while China continues to assert its claims over the island. The situation underscores the delicate balance and potential for further escalations in the complex relationship between Taiwan and mainland China.
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