South China Sea: Beijing aircraft carrier enters Taiwan waters amid soaring tensions

The group of vessels passed through the waters which divide Taiwan and mainland China. According to the South China Morning Post, the Taiwanese Defence Ministry advice the ships were heading towards the port of Qingdao, eastern China. The group was made up of China’s Liaoning aircraft and five escorts.

The ministry’s website read: “Please be reassured that the military is able to exercise joint intelligence to get hold of the strike group’s entire movements and deal with any emergency to ensure national security and regional stability.”

Earlier in June, the ships were seen travelling through Japan’s Miyako Strait.

The ships then entered the US island territory of Guam and the Philippines before going out into the South China Sea.

Longstanding disputes between the two nations have worsened in recent months, with the US backing Taiwan.

READ MORE: South China Sea: Beijing ‘attack’ on Philippines could trigger treaty

Reports claim China has resisted attacking Taiwan for seven decades, despite its political differences.

They are concerned that US intervention and the potential heavy death toll are also reasons for abandoning any such plans.

As well as political tensions, arguments have erupted over the disputed South China Sea.

China lays claim to it, but so do other nations including Taiwan.

Experts say Taiwan has been readying itself for conflict ever since it gained independence in 1949.

In May, the country carried out mass anti-invasion drills, which were described by Taiwan’s military spokesman Major General Chen Chung-Chi as ensuring the island was “combat ready”.

He added: “Of course, we don’t want war, but only by gaining our own strength can we defend ourselves.

“If China wants to take any action against us, it has to consider paying a painful price.”