Monday, July 6, 2020 | ePaper

China confirms aircraft carrier sailed through Taiwan Strait

  • Print


China confirmed on Monday that its first domestically built aircraft carrier had sailed through the Taiwan Strait for "routine" training and tests after Taipei accused Beijing of intimidation around upcoming elections.

AFP, Beijing :
China confirmed on Monday that its first domestically built aircraft carrier had sailed through the Taiwan Strait for "routine" training and tests after Taipei accused Beijing of intimidation around upcoming elections.
The ship, which has yet to be named, is Beijing's second carrier and will add massive firepower to its navy once it is officially put into service, as the country faces tensions with self-ruled Taiwan and regional neighbours around the disputed South China Sea.
The carrier crossed the sensitive waters on Sunday before entering the South China Sea for "scientific research tests and routine training", navy spokesman Cheng Dewei said on an official social media account.
Cheng said it was "normal practice" for carriers that are under testing to conduct cross-regional trials.
"It is not aimed at any specific target and has nothing to do with the current situation," Cheng said without elaborating.
The sail-by comes as Taiwan gears up for presidential elections in January.
Taipei's foreign minister Joseph Wu tweeted on Sunday that China "intends to intervene in #Taiwan's elections", adding: "Voters won't be intimidated!"
Taiwan's defence ministry said it had dispatched ships and planes to track and closely monitor the carrier's movements, and that US and Japanese vessels trailed it in the strait.
China, which sees democratic Taiwan as part of its territory, has stepped up military drills around the island since Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election, came to power in 2016.
Tsai - who has voiced support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement -has described the elections as a fight for Taiwan's freedom and democracy.  Her challenger favours much warmer relations with China.
On the same day as the sail-by, Tsai announced that former premier William
Lai, who has styled himself as a "Taiwan independence worker", would be her
running mate in a move likely to irritate Beijing.
Eric Hundman, assistant professor of political science at NYU Shanghai, said that the sail-by was a "continuation of Beijing's consistent efforts to pressure Taipei".
"The choice to sail through the Taiwan Strait was undoubtedly deliberate and probably intended as a signal to both Taiwan and the US of China's increasing naval capabilities," he said.
The "Type 001A" carrier was launched in 2017 and sea trials began the following year, but it has yet to be officially put into service. It is expected to be commissioned in 2020.
State television on Monday broadcast images of the Type 001A, with at least three fighter jets on its flight deck.
The state-run Global Times, a nationalist tabloid, cited an anonymous military expert as saying the ship likely sailed through the strait to dock at its possible home base in south China's Hainan island.
Hainan province is in the South China Sea east of Vietnam, which has competing claims in the waterway along with China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei.
China has one other carrier - the Liaoning, a repurposed Soviet carrier bought from Ukraine that went into service in 2012.
Neither the Liaoning or the new ship are nuclear-powered, but both can carry around 40 planes and have similar "ski jump" ramps, an old launch system that forces aircraft to carry fewer weapons in order to hold more fuel for take-off.
A US think-tank reported in May that recent satellite photographs indicated that construction of a third Chinese aircraft carrier was well under way.
Adding a third aircraft carrier will put China in an elite club among naval powers but it will still lag far behind the United States, which has 10 nuclear-powered Nimitz-class "supercarriers" currently in service.

More News For this Category

Democracy activists' books unavailable in Hong Kong libraries after new law

Democracy activists' books unavailable in Hong Kong libraries after new law

Reuters :Books by prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy figures have become unavailable in the Chinese-ruled city's public libraries, days after Beijing introduced sweeping national security legislation, according to online records and

India to reopen Taj Mahal with social distancing, masks

Reuters :Visitors to the Taj Mahal will have to wear masks at all times, keep their distance and not touch its glistening marble surfaces when India's 17th-century monument to love

More than 160 killed in Ethiopia protests over singer's murder

More than 160 killed in Ethiopia protests over singer's murder

Al Jazeera News :At least 166 people have died during violent demonstrations that roiled Ethiopia in the days following the murder of popular singer Haacaaluu Hundeessa, police said."In the aftermath

Trump vows to defeat 'radical left' in Independence Day speech

Trump vows to defeat 'radical left' in Independence Day speech

US President Donald Trump has used an Independence Day address to vow to defeat the "radical left" as protests sweep the country.Striking a combative tone, Mr Trump said he would

Several killed in IS-regime clashes in Syria

Several killed in IS-regime clashes in Syria

AFP, Beirut :Clashes between Russia-backed Syrian regime forces and the militant Islamic State group have killed more than 40 fighters on the two sides in just 48 hours, a Britain-based

Ghana's president self-quarantine amid COVID-19 fear

Ghana's president self-quarantine amid COVID-19 fear

Anadolu Agency, Abuja :The President of Ghana isolated himself after coming into contact with an associate who tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an official statement Saturday."President Nana Akufo-Addo

Algeria seeks apology from France over colonial past: President

Algeria seeks apology from France over colonial past: President

Al Jazeera News :Algeria is waiting for an apology for France's colonial occupation of the North African country, the president said, expressing hope that French President Emmanuel Macron would build

China appoints hardliner to head new Hong Kong security agency

China appoints hardliner to head new Hong Kong security agency

AFP, Hong Kong :China appointed a hardliner to head a new national security agency in Hong Kong on Friday as police brought the first charges under a sweeping new

PIA terminates services of 52 employees

Dawn.com, Rawalpindi :The Pakistan Interna­tional Airlines (PIA) on Friday terminated the services of 52 employees on various charges, including fake or tampered degrees, breach of rules and unauthorised disclosure

Heavy rains flood Japan, over a dozen presumed dead

Al Jazeera News :Fourteen people are feared dead after a nursing home was flooded in western Japan as record heavy rains hit the region, a local governor said.The victims