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Chinese aircraft carrier sails through Taiwan Strait ahead of elections

Passage comes just 16 days before Taiwan's presidential and legislative elections

China's aircraft carrier the Shandong.

China's aircraft carrier the Shandong. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Just 16 days before the presidential and legislative elections, Chinese aircraft carrier the Shandong sailed through the Taiwan Strait, the Ministry of National Defense said Thursday (Dec. 26).

Over the past year, Chinese naval vessels and air force jets have repeatedly passed close to Taiwan, actions which have been seen as attempts at intimidation ahead of Taiwan's January 11 elections.

The Shandong sailed from south to north through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, accompanied by other ships, Liberty Times reported. Taiwan’s military said it had closely followed the aircraft carrier’s every move in a joint operation and called on the public not to worry about the nation’s security or regional peace.

Launched in 2017, the Shandong is China’s second aircraft carrier and first domestically built one. Under Communist Party leader Xi Jinping (習近平), Beijing has taken a more aggressive stance on its claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea and over Taiwan.