China's first aircraft carrier sailed in waters south of Taiwan overnight with Taiwan's fighter jets and warships monitoring its movement and ready to respond, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Monday.
The Liaoning and five escorting warships were sailing 20 nautical miles outside Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines at around 8 p.m. Sunday, the MND said.
At 9 a.m. Monday, the Chinese warships were continuing to move in a southwesterly direction some 90 miles (150 kilometers) to the south of Eluanbi, Taiwan's southernmost point, it said.
The MND did not specify their movement but the Chinese warships were apparently on their way from waters off Taiwan's east coast to the South China Sea.
An unspecified number of F-16 fighter jets and Navy warships were deployed in Taiwan's ADIZ for a close monitor of the Chinese navy formation, according to the MND.
According to Chinese media reports, the Liaoning, which was commissioned in 2012, is headed to "distant sea waters" for the first time. The aircraft carrier and its escorts are expected to conduct exercise outside the first island chain, of which Taiwan and the Japanese islands form a part.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel