Taipei, China’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, the Shandong, transited through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, prompting Taiwan to dispatch military assets to monitor the voyage, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND).
The Shandong embarked on its journey from the Chinese port of Dalian along with four escort ships on Dec. 17 and continued to sail south after passing through the strait, the MND said in a statement Sunday.
“Taiwan’s military monitored the Chinese ships during their transit, mobilizing six Navy ships and eight Air Force planes,” the MND said, insisting that Taiwan’s military was capable of safeguarding the country and maintaining stability in the region.
According to MND data, this was the Shandong’s second transit through the strait. The first one came on Dec. 26, 2019.
Dec. 17 was the first year anniversary of the commissioning of the Shandong, which is capable of carrying 44 aircraft — 32 fighter jets and 12 helicopters — according to media reports.
The journey came one day after the USS Mustin, an American Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, sailed through the strait.
According to Taiwanese media reports, the Shandong could be moving to a warmer southern location before the cold winter turns the waters around the northern port into ice and conducting training exercises along the way.
Meanwhile, a Chinese Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft and a Y-8 anti-submarine plane entered the southwestern part of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Sunday, the MND said in a separate statement.
In response to the incursions, Taiwan’s Air Force scrambled planes to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issued radio warnings and mobilized air defense assets, until the Chinese aircraft left the ADIZ, the MND said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel