Taiwan ready if Liaoning passes through Taiwan Strait: MND

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on Thursday that China's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, first passed through the Taiwan Strait in 2014, and as such the ministry has experience and countermeasures in place to deal with a repeat.

Military experts have said the Liaoning, currently on drills in the South China Sea, could pass through the strait when it returns to its home port in Qingdao, completing its first drill to include the circumnavigation of Taiwan.

Others speculate that the return journey could be timed to coincide with the official trip to Central America by President Tsai Ing-wen (???), who will visit Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador from Jan. 7-15.

Wang Shao-hua (???), director of the MND's Defense Research Center, said the military has comprehensive monitoring facilities that enable it to keep tabs on China's military deployments.

However, he declined to comment on "speculation" regarding China's military movements.

He also said that the combat capability of the Liaoning is still developing and whether it reaches the level of the United States remains to be seen.

MND spokesman Chen Chung-chi (???) said that the ministry has a wide range of measures at its disposal to deal with any contingency.

Questioned about media reports that hundreds of Taiwan's missiles will target the Liaoning, Chen said only that the military is well prepared and public safety assured.

The Liaoning passed through the first island chain by sailing in international waters off eastern Taiwan before docking at Sanya port, Hainan province, at the end of December.

The first island chain refers to the major archipelagos off the East Asian continental mainland, including Japan, Taiwan and the northern Philippines.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel