Taiwan held military drills during passage of Chinese aircraft carrier

Destroyers, helicopters and anti-submarine aircraft held maneuvers near Penghu

Chief of General Staff Lee Hsi-min watching drills near Penghu last weekend.

Chief of General Staff Lee Hsi-min watching drills near Penghu last weekend.

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s Navy and Air Force held joint military drills near Penghu (澎湖) as the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (遼寧號) was passing nearby, reports said Tuesday.

Last Saturday and Sunday, the Liaoning was cruising inside Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) west of the mid-line of the Taiwan Strait toward Hong Kong, where it was due to attend events marking the 20th anniversary of the handover of the former British colony to China.

The aircraft carrier was accompanied by a frigate, two destroyers and a squadron of fighter jets and helicopters. The group stayed inside Taiwan’s ADIZ from 4 p.m. Saturday to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, reports said.

On Tuesday, reports said that at the same time, Taiwan’s Navy and Air Force had conducted joint maneuvers near Penghu County, an archipelago in the middle of the Taiwan Strait.

The drills mobilized seven Keelung-class guided missile destroyers (基隆軍艦), Navy S-70C anti-submarine helicopters, and Air Force P-3C anti-submarine aircraft.

The Ministry of National Defense said Tuesday that Chief of the General Staff Lee Hsi-min (李喜明) traveled to Penghu and Chiayi to speak to the troops and to witness several of the drills. He also visited a missile unit and boarded an S-70C, while at Chiayi Air Force Base he watched F-16 fighter jets perform an emergency takeoff and landing. The Armed Forces chief emphasized the importance of rapid response in defending the security of the nation’s air and sea space.