China’s second aircraft carrier sails through Taiwan Strait
China's first domestically-built aircraft carrier SHANDONG is sailing through the Taiwan Strait as of Thursday evening, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense announced.
Shandong is China’s second aircraft carrier and the first one built in China. The Taiwan Strait passage is the first for Shandong since it was commissioned earlier this month.
The Shandong entered the Taiwan Strait from the south, sailing northwards, the ministry said, adding that it is monitoring the vessel and is ready for any contingency.
“Their entire activities were monitored by our military and we are sure to protect the country’s safety and regional peace and stability,” the Taiwanese statement said.
Since January 2017, Chinese aircraft carriers have transited the Taiwan Strait six times, including yesterday’s passage, ministry data showed. The first was when the Liaoning was in transit from China’s Hainan Island to Shandong Province in July 2017. In March last year, the carrier sailed through a section of Taiwan’s northeastern air defense identification zone west of the median line of the Taiwan Strait. In June that year, the Liaoning transited the Strait en route to its base in Shandong. In June last year, the vessel passed through the waterway while returning to base. In November last year, the Shandong sailed through the Strait, trailed by US and Japanese vessels.
Presidential Office Spokesman Alex Huang said Thursday it is the responsibility of both sides of the Taiwan Strait to maintain peace and stability and Beijing should uphold its responsibility in the global community to contribute to regional safety and prosperity.
Meanwhile, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said the Shandong is operating smoothly and will continue its training in accordance with the plan to develop strike group combat capabilities.
Maritime Business World