11:21 GMT17 May 2021
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    Taiwanese aircraft scrambled to monitor a Chinese carrier battle group transiting the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s warning that Taiwan would face the “punishment of history” if it seeks independence.

    According to the Taiwanese Defense Ministry, the aircraft carrier Liaoning led a group of warships from the People's Liberation Army-Navy through the narrow waterway between China and Taiwan on Wednesday.

    Aircraft taking off from the carrier did not do anything out of the ordinary that should concern the Taiwanese people, the ministry noted. Taiwanese fighter aircraft and warships shadowed the carrier's operations while it passed through the strait.

    Tensions between Taipei and Beijing escalated last week when US President Donald Trump signed into law a new policy allowing senior Taiwanese officials to visit the US. The move angered Beijing, which views the self-ruling island as a wayward province, not a sovereign state. Trump's move also spurred a promise from Chinese state media to apply "military pressure" against Taiwan and the US.

    Speaking at the end of a two-week parliamentary session on Tuesday, Xi told 3,000 delegates that "any actions and tricks to split China are doomed to failure and will meet with the people's condemnation and the punishment of history."

    The Chinese president further remarked that it is "the shared aspiration of all Chinese people and in their basic interests to safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and realize China's complete reunification."


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