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Taiwan: Chinese Warships in Strait     05/27 08:14


   BEIJING (AP) -- Taiwan's Defense Ministry said Saturday that it detected 
three Chinese warships, including the Shandong aircraft carrier, passing 
through the Taiwan Strait, as Beijing keeps up pressure on the self-ruled 
island it claims as its own.

   The ministry said it was monitoring the movements of the ships and will 
respond accordingly. In a tweet, the ministry said that the three vessels were 
headed north along the Taiwan Strait at noon and were steering along the west 
of the median line -- an unofficial boundary once tacitly accepted by both 

   China has stepped up its military activities around Taiwan in recent months 
amid deteriorating U.S.-China ties.

   China claims Taiwan as its own territory to be brought under its control by 
force if necessary and regularly sends ships and warplanes into airspace and 
waters near the island.

   The ministry also said that in the 24 hours from 6 a.m. Friday to Saturday, 
it detected 33 of China's People's Liberation Army aircraft and 10 navy vessels 
around Taiwan. Twelve of the aircraft had crossed the median line of the Taiwan 
Strait or entered the island's air defense identification zone.

   In response, Taiwan's armed forces deployed aircraft, navy vessels and 
land-based missile systems.

   In April, the Chinese military said it was "ready to fight" after completing 
three days of large-scale combat exercises around Taiwan that simulated sealing 
off the island in response to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's trip to the 

   Last August, China intensified war games around Taiwan, with missile firings 
and incursions into Taiwanese waters and airspace following then-House Speaker 
Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei.

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