Wed, 04 Aug 2021

Beijing [China], April 7 (ANI): In a move to further escalate tensions near Taiwan, China's navy has announced that its military drills near the island will become more regular.

Taiwan has been complaining of an increase in Chinese military activity near it in recent months, as China steps up efforts to assert its sovereignty over the island, reported Japan Times.

China's navy said its carrier group, led by the Liaoning, the country's first aircraft carrier, was carrying out 'routine' drills in the waters near Taiwan, claiming that the aim was to "enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests".

"Similar exercises will be conducted on a regular basis in the future," the navy said on Monday.

This came after Taiwan's Defense Ministry reported a new incursion by China's air force into the island's air defense identification zone. Taiwan's Defense Ministry said it had a "full grasp" of the situation in the air and at sea surrounding Taiwan and that it was "appropriately handling" the matter, Japan Times reported.

Meanwhile, Japan's Defense Ministry earlier informed that the Liaoning, accompanied by five escort ships, had transited the Miyako Strait on their way to the Pacific, after which it sent its own fleet of vessels to monitor the movement of the Chinese group.

In December 2019, shortly before presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan the Shandong sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, a move condemned by Taiwan as attempted intimidation, according to Japan Times.

Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.

Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing.

China has threatened that "Taiwan's independence" means war. (ANI)

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