Chinese aircraft carrier completes passage through Taiwan Strait
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Jan. 12 (CNA) The Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, completed its passage through the Taiwan Strait at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and continued its way back to China, according to Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND).
Although the passage of the Liaoning and its Chinese naval escorts was not expected to start a crisis between the two rivals, the MND has been on alert and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is visiting Central America, has stayed apprised of the latest situation.
The passage, which began early Wednesday, was seen by many as sabre-rattling on the Chinese side as the relations across the Taiwan Strait became strained when Tsai of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took power last May.
In a press release, the MND said the Liaoning was on its way back to China. The aircraft carrier had reportedly conducted training exercises in the South China Sea earlier.
To reach waters in the South China Sea, the Liaoning, which is based in Qingdao in northern China's Shandong Province, sailed south in the Pacific past Taiwan's eastern coast on Christmas Day.
In November and December of 2013, the Liaoning, which was rebuilt from a multirole aircraft carrier launched in 1988 for the Soviet Navy, sailed in the Taiwan Strait for the first time after its commission into the Chinese navy in September 2012.
China and Taiwan are technically still at war with each other and Beijing sees self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory, to be reunited by military force if necessary.
(By Lu Hsin-hui)
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