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Wednesday, April 8, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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China’s 1st aircraft carrier sails into South China Sea

In this undated file photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning berths in a port of China. China’s military says its first aircraft carrier group has carried out a series of fighter launch, recovery and air combat exercises in the Yellow Sea amid tensions with the U.S. and Taiwan. (Li Tang / Associated Press)
In this undated file photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning berths in a port of China. China’s military says its first aircraft carrier group has carried out a series of fighter launch, recovery and air combat exercises in the Yellow Sea amid tensions with the U.S. and Taiwan. (Li Tang / Associated Press)
Associated Press

BEIJING – 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.

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