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Chinese aircraft carrier group makes statement

China's People's Liberation Army (Navy) frigate PLA(N) Yueyang (FF 575).(Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shannon Renfroe/U.S. Navy photo/Released)
September 11, 2023

In a move that caught the attention of the global community, China’s Shandong aircraft carrier reportedly sailed past Taiwan to enter the West Pacific for military exercises on Monday.

China’s move comes just two days after United States and Canadian naval vessels traversed the Taiwan Straits, an event described as “provocative” by some Chinese commentators, according to The South China Post.

The heightened maritime activity raises questions about security and stability in a region already rife with geopolitical complexities.

According to a press release from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense obtained by Taipei Times, the Shandong aircraft carrier group of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy was spotted in waters 60 nautical miles southeast of Cape Eluanbi, the southernmost point of Taiwan.

Close to the same time, 13 PLA aircraft, including J-16 and Su-30 fighter jets, were observed around Taiwan, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense. Eleven of these aircraft reportedly crossed the median line or entered Taiwan’s self-proclaimed southwest air defense identification zone.

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“This marks the second time the aircraft carrier Shandong has embarked on a far sea exercise into the West Pacific,” the press release stated.

Two days prior to the Shandong’s voyage, U.S. Navy destroyer USS Ralph Johnson and Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Ottawa sailed through the Taiwan Straits.

“Their transits were tracked, monitored, and handled in accordance with the law by naval and air forces of the PLA Eastern Theater Command,” Senior Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesperson at the command, said in a statement, according to the Chinese state-run news outlet Global Times.

The Shandong’s voyage and the prior U.S. and Canadian naval activities underscore the strategic importance of the region. With the recent developments, the West Pacific has once again been thrust into the spotlight as a key area of concern for global security.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.