China's aircraft carrier navigates 10 hours North Philippines to Palawan Territory ; Ready for any Attacks

China aircraft carrier passed north of PH – report

China's first aircraft carrier making its way towards the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) for sea trials has passed through the Strait of Taiwan north of the Philippines.

The Liaoning, a refitted aircraft carrier built by the former Soviet Union and bought by China, took 10 hours to pass through the strait Thursday morning, according to a report from on board the ship by China's Xinhua News Agency.

The Taiwan Strait is a 180-kilometer wide stretch of water that separates mainland China from Taiwan. The Liaoning aircraft carrier passed through the strait escorted by two missile destroyers and two missile frigates, the report said.

Liaoning Captain Zhang Zheng was quoted as saying that they have kept a high degree of vigilance for foreign warships and aircraft that might approach the carrier group.

Previous sea trials of the carrier were conducted in relatively calmer waters off China's northeast coast.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that the deployment of the carrier to the West Philippine Sea raises strains in a region that was already under much tensions from territorial disputes.

"Its deployment raises tensions and violates the declaration on the conduct of parties in the [West Philippine Sea (South China Sea)]," DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a press conference last Wednesday.

"Its deployment must not be violative of international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS). Its deployment must therefore not be for other than peaceful purposes," he said.

Xinhua reported that the training exercises of the vessel from the personnel to the carrier itself had been going well.

The Philippines has filed an arbitration case against China before the international Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands.

The case stems from China's territorial claim over the entire South China Sea including portions of the Philippine's 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

Tensions between the two countries reached its peak last April 2012 when a standoff between Chinese and Philippine vessels ensued after Chinese fishermen were found poaching endemic and endangered marine species in Bajo de Masinloc (Panatag Shoal or Scarborough Shoal).

Philippine authorities that sought to apprehend the Chinese fishermen were blocked by Chinese Maritime Surveillance ships. China has since maintained control over the shoal leaving Filipino fishermen unable to fish in it.

Diplomatic protests were filed by the Philippines against China for the incident but to no avail. - INQUIRER.net

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