Car­rier group pass­ing by Tai­wan ‘won’t af­fect’ cross-Straits ties

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG ZHIHAO in Bei­jing zhangzhi­hao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The pas­sage of China’s first car­rier bat­tle group through the Tai­wan Straits onWed­nes­day will not af­fect cross-Straits re­la­tions, said Liu Zhen­min, vice-for­eign min­is­ter

The CNS Liaon­ing car­rier and its five es­cort ves­sels, re­turn­ing from drills in the South China Sea, sailed north and en­tered the Tai­wan Straits onWed­nes­day morn­ing.

Tai­wan scram­bled jets and navy ships to closely fol­low the bat­tle group and mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion, said Tai­wan’s “de­fense min­istry” spokesman Chen Chung-chi.

It was the first cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion of Tai­wan since the bat­tle group’s blue wa­ter ex­er­cise be­gan in De­cem­ber, when it sailed around the eastern coast of the is­land, the is­land’s “min­istry” added.

The is­land’s over­re­ac­tion to the move adds more un­cer­tainty and ten­sion to the al­ready tense re­gion, ex­perts said.

“The Tai­wan Straits are an in­ter­na­tional wa­ter­way shared by the main­land and Tai­wan, so it is nor­mal for CNS Liaon­ing to pass through in train­ing,” Liu said. “It won’t af­fect cross-Straits re­la­tions.

“The Chi­nese Navy con­ducts reg­u­lar ex­er­cises both along the coast and in the western Pa­cific dur­ing this time of year to boost ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” he said. “This train­ing is safe and won’t af­fect se­cu­rity

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