Taipei detects Chinese aircraft carrier in Taiwan strait

Taipei scrambles jets as Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning enters Taiwan Strait
J-15 fighters from China's Liaoning aircraft carrier conduct a drill in an area of South China Sea, January 2, 2017. Picture taken January 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mo Xiaoliang

Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning has entered Taiwan's Air Defence Identification Zone, the Defence Minister said on Wednesday, a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping threatened Taiwan with the "punishment of history".

Yen Teh-fa told Parliament that the carrier had entered the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday but added that the situation was under control and national security would be protected.

The minister said the military was closely monitoring China's military drills, Taiwan News reported.

The Liaoning entered the Air Defence Zone after participating in military exercises in the South China Sea on Sunday and Monday.

The carrier's entry came after Xi took a hard stand against the island's independence in his speech at the closing session of the National People's Congress.

"Any actions and tricks to split China are doomed to failure and will meet with the people's condemnation and the punishment of history," Xi said on Tuesday.

The last time the Chinese carrier was detected near Taiwan was on January 16 when it passed just west of the Taiwan Strait's median line.

Since Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took charge as Taiwan's President in 2016, China has limited official and semi-official contacts with the island and has repeatedly sent military planes and warships in its vicinity. (IANS)

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