Taiwan fighter jets scramble to Chinese carrier battle group in Taiwan Strait

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TAIPEI - 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.

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