Taiwan warned on Tuesday, 27 December, that the risk over the country's security was growing as China's warships sailed towards the island province of Hainan through the South China Sea on a routine drill.
Reports from the Taipei's defence ministry suggested that the Chinese warships, led by the country's sole aircraft carrier – the Liaoning – rounded Taiwan, passing between the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa and through the Bashi Channel, between Taiwan and the Philippines.
However, China has claimed that its ships were carrying out only routine exercises. The drill comes amid renewed tension over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own.
"The threat of our enemies is growing day by day. We should always be maintaining our combat alertness. We need to strengthen the training (of our soldiers) so that they can not only survive in battle but also destroy the enemy and accomplish the mission," Taiwan Defense MinisterFeng Shih-kuan said, while giving speech at a ministry event marking the promotion of senior military officers.
A defence ministry official said the Soviet-built Liaoning aircraft carrier was sailing towards Hainan and not moving deeper into the disputed South China Sea near the Spratly Islands, which lie close to the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam.
"It is still heading southwest towards Hainan," an anonymous senior Taiwanese military official was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Earlier in December also, China's air force conducted drills above the East and South China Seas that upset Japan and Taiwan.
China cut off communications with Taiwan in June after the ruling Democratic Progressive Party declined to recognise the "one-China" policy.
The issue came under spotlight recently after US President-elect Donald Trump spoke with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on telephone, breaking the diplomatic protocol.
The United States has also recently angered China after doing naval patrols near islands in the South China Sea that Beijing claims as it own. The Pentagon, however, did not directly comment on the latest drill but said that the US recognises lawful use of sea and airspace in accord to international law.
"We continue to closely monitor developments in the region. We do not have specific comments on China's recent naval activities, but we continue to observe a range of ongoing Chinese military activity in the region," Pentagon spokesman Gary Ross told Reuters.