Chinese aircraft carrier leaves Taiwan Strait

Beijing, Jan 12 (IANS) A Chinese aircraft carrier left the Taiwan Strait on Thursday morning, a day after sailing into it, prompting Taipei to scramble jets.

A naval formation consisting of aircraft carrier Liaoning passed through the Taiwan Strait Thursday morning en route to drills in the South China Sea, People’s Liberation Army’s spokesperson Liang Yang was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

On Wednesday, Liaoning, China’s sole aircraft carrier, entered Taiwan Straits. In response, Taiwan scrambled F-16 fighter jets and a P-3C anti-submarine plane.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, a self-ruled island since 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek came here after being defeated by Mao Zedong’s Communist Party.

Yang said the Liaoning and other naval vessels in the formation were scientifically organised and meticulously operated during the navigation.

Since it was commissioned in 2012, the Liaoning has been carrying out training and tests steadily, the navy said.

The Liaoning is China’s only aircraft carrier in operation. It was refitted based on an unfinished carrier from the former Soviet Union.