Moment China sends aircraft carrier strike group off Taiwan coast in chilling warning to US as war tensions grow | The Sun

CHINA sailed its aircraft carrier strike fleet off the Taiwan coast in a chilling warning to the US as tensions boil over.

It comes as President Tsai Ing-wen is due to meet US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles.

China, which has long claimed democratically-governed Taiwan as its own territory, has warned of unspecified retaliation if the meeting goes ahead.

Last August, Beijing staged war games around Taiwan following the visit to Taipei of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Taiwan's defence ministry said the Chinese ships, which were led by the carrier the Shandong, passed through the Bashi Channel – which separates Taiwan from the Philippines.

The group then went into waters to Taiwan's southeast.

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It said the ships were going for training in the Western Pacific, and that Taiwanese naval and air forces and land-based radar systems closely monitored them.

The ministry said: "The Chinese communists continue to send aircraft and ships to encroach in the seas and airspace around Taiwan.

"In addition to posing a substantial threat to our national security, it also destroys the status quo of regional security and stability. Such actions are by no means the acts of a responsible modern country."

One picture provided by the ministry shows a grainy black and white image of the carrier taken from the air.

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The other meanwhile shows a Taiwanese sailor looking at the Shandong and another unidentified ship in the distance.

China has yet to comment on the carrier group, whose appearance also coincided with the arrival in Beijing of French President Emmanuel Macron.

In March of last year, the Shandong sailed through the Taiwan Strait, just hours before the Chinese and US presidents were due to talk.

Taiwan's defence ministry, in its statement about the Shandong's latest mission near the island, said that "external pressure will not hinder our determination to go into the world".

The country's military will continue to closely monitor the situation in the Taiwan Strait, and uphold the principles of "not escalating conflicts, not causing disputes" to deal with any challenges.

It comes amid fears it may already be too late to stop President Xi unleashing a Pearl Harbor-style surprise before the end of the year.

And the danger was laid bare as The Sun visited the front line at Taiwan-controlled Kinmen Island, just two miles from the Chinese coast, in March.

Explosions and gunfire could be heard as Taiwanese troops trained at secret military installations hidden from public view along the coastline.

Miles of spiked steel sea defences pointing towards China lined beaches ready to repel an amphibious landing.

Chinese drones have been taunting troops defending the island in recent months as spy ships disguised as trawlers lurked offshore.

The strategy echoes Vladimir Putin’s behaviour before he ordered Russian forces into Ukraine last year.

Dr Lin Ching-Yi, a legislator on Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, told The Sun: “They are exactly the same tactics as Russia’s before the Ukraine invasion.

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“An information war sews doubt and interferes with the democratic process and we now have serious fears that military action will follow.

“Xi and Putin are both old men who want to make history and leave a lasting legacy. If Xi wants to achieve the unification (of China and Taiwan) that he has promised during his lifetime, that could mean war very soon. We need to be ready.”

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