Beijing: The Chinese Navy on Monday confirmed that the country’s first domestically-built aircraft carrier sailed through the Taiwan Strait and is on its way to the South China Sea, in an apparent message just days after a US warship crossed the waterway last week.
Sputnik quoted Taiwan’s Defence Ministry as saying that the Chinese aircraft carrier, escorted by guard ships, had entered the Taiwan Strait while being shadowed by the US and Japanese naval vessels. Taipei noted that it had sent aircraft and ships to monitor the group of Chinese vessels.
“On November 17, the second Chinese aircraft carrier successfully sailed through the Taiwan Strait and headed to the South China Sea for scientific research tests and routine exercises,” a Chinese Navy spokesman said, as quoted by the Xinhua news agency.
The spokesperson also stressed that the passage was a part of planned maneuvers that were not directed against anyone and had nothing to do with the situation in the region.
The Type 001A aircraft carrier, the first to be built in China, was launched in 2017. The ship made its maiden voyage in May 2018.
The first vessel of this type in the Chinese Navy is a refitted Soviet aircraft carrier, which was purchased from Ukraine.
The display came less than a week after the USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, on November 12 transited the Taiwan Strait in a move that likely irked China. It was the US Navy’s ninth such transit this year.
China has regularly condemned previous US voyages in the Taiwan Strait, claiming that America was meddling in the China-Taiwan issue.