Chinese aircraft carrier-led flotilla leaves Taiwan's ADIZ
Taipei, July 13 (CNA) A Chinese naval flotilla headed by China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, that entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the early hours of Wednesday, left the zone at 2 a.m. the following day after sailing north along the Taiwan Strait, according to the Ministry of National Defense.
The four-ship flotilla left Hong Kong at noon Tuesday and entered Taiwan's ADIZ at 2:40 a.m., Wednesday before sailing north, west of the Taiwan Strait's median line, according to a statement issued by the ministry.
Earlier reports have said that the flotilla also included two guided-missile destroyers and one frigate.
The ministry said that it closely monitored every operation and movement of the Liaoning, which embarked from its home port in Qingdao, northern China on June 25 for a cross-region training operation. It arrived in Hong Kong on July 7 for a five-day port call.
China and Taiwan are technically still at war with each other and Beijing sees self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory, to be reunited by military force if necessary.
The last time the Liaoning formation entered Taiwan's ADIZ was at 4 p.m. July 1 and it left at 9:30 p.m. the next day.
During that time, the ministry denied reports that the Liaoning conducted training operations such as takeoffs and landings of jet fighters while the formation sailed through Taiwan's ADIZ.
It was the Chinese aircraft carrier's second passage through the Taiwan Strait in six months. On Jan. 12, the Liaoning sailed in the 180-kilometer-wide waterway on its way back to China after conducting training exercises in the South China Sea.
It sailed south off the eastern coast of Taiwan on Christmas Day, 2016 to reach waters where the exercises were to take place.
In late 2013, the Liaoning, which was rebuilt from a multirole aircraft carrier launched in 1988 for the Soviet Navy, sailed in the Taiwan Strait for the first time after its commission into the Chinese navy in September 2012.
(By Claudia Liu and Evelyn Kao)ENDITEM/J
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