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Chinese ships pass through Taiwan Straits

Destroyers and supply ships on way back from drills near Japanese island


Miyakojima. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Three Chinese Navy vessels passed through the Taiwan Straits Saturday on their way from maneuvers near the Japanese Pacific island of Miyakojima to the South China Sea, the Ministry of National Defense said.

In conjunction with Beijing’s territorial claims over uninhabited islands both near Japan and in Southeast Asia, the People’s Liberation Army has been actively organizing military exercises in the region.

On Thursday morning, Chinese Navy destroyers, frigates, supply ships and Air Force fighter jets, bombers and early warning aircraft took part in drills southeast of Miyakojima, an island 400 kilometers east of Taipei with a population of about 56,000.

On Saturday morning, two Chinese destroyers and a supply vessel which had taken part in the drills moved southwest through the Taiwan Straits, keeping west of the center line dividing the water between a Chinese and a Taiwanese area, the ministry said.

By Saturday evening, the convoy would have left Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and returned to its base, according to the military.

Commentators did not see the moves as specifically aimed at Taiwan or exercising for any future invasion. The drills were designed to improve the Chinese Navy’s seafaring capabilities and could be interpreted more as targeting Japan and the United States than Taiwan, experts were quoted as saying.

The Ministry of National Defense said it had closely monitored the Miyakojima area drills and the public in Taiwan need not worry.