Chinese carrier group exercises near Taiwan carried out this week will now become a regular occurrence, the country's navy said Tuesday, brushing off a formal complaint from Taiwan on the increased military presence near its borders in recent months.
Chinese military officials said the country's carrier group was carrying out "routine" drills in the open waters near Taiwan. The exercise was led by the Liaoning, the first aircraft carrier commissioned into the People's Liberation Army Navy Surface Force.
Chinese officials said that the exercises were necessary to enhance the navy's capability in safeguarding "national sovereignty, safety, and development interest."
"The combination of aircraft carriers and Type 055 large destroyers will become a standard configuration of Chinese aircraft carrier task groups in the future. Similar exercises will be conducted on a regular basis in the future," Navy officials said.
Taiwan's Defense Ministry said that the arrival of the Chinese strike forces follows a similar incursion into its air space by China's air force. The ministry said that it had detected several planes flying into the country's air defense identification zone Monday.
The country's defense ministry said that it had a "full grasp" of the situation and it is tracking the movements of the Chinese ships and airplanes.
Japan's Defense Ministry said Monday that it was also able to spot the carrier group near its borders. Officials said that the Liaoning was spotted with five escort ships passing through the Miyako Strait while the group was on its way to the Pacific.
Chinese state-owned media confirmed that the Liaoning was being accompanied by the Nanchang, the first in a new fleet of Type 055 destroyers that officially entered into service last year.
China had conducted similar drills in the past as a way of asserting its sovereignty over the Taiwanese island. In December 2019, the Shangdong, the Liaoning's sister ship, passed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait shortly before the country had held its presidential and parliamentary elections.
Taiwanese officials condemned the move and accused China of attempted intimidation. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen previously said that the country is prepared to defend itself if necessary.
The Taiwanese military had previously unveiled plans to build new vessels, including so-called "carrier killer" stealth corvettes.