BEIJING (AP) — Taiwan's Defense Ministry says China's first aircraft carrier and five other warships have passed by Taiwan and sailed into the contested South China Sea.
The ministry said the ships led by the Liaoning sailed Monday past the Pratas Islands, also known as the Dongsha Islands, a Taiwan-controlled atoll in the north part of the South China Sea.
China's Defense Ministry said Saturday that the Liaoning had set off for a routine open-sea exercise in the Western Pacific as part of its annual training. But its entering into the politically sensitive South China Sea follows rising tensions between Beijing and Taipei over the status of the self-ruled island.
Beijing considers Taiwan a part of its territory but Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen refuses to endorse this one-China policy.