China's only aircraft carrier has led several warships across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan's defense ministry said. The Liaoning was returning from drills in the South China Sea. It did not enter Taiwanese waters but did cross its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the ministry said. It is the latest escalation amid tensions between the two neighbors, and Taiwanese authorities have asked the public to remain calm. In response, Taiwan scrambled jets and boats to "surveil and control" the ships through the 160km-wide (100 miles) Strait, Taiwan defense ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi told Reuters.
China considers self-governing Taiwan part of its territory, to be reunited with the mainland by force if necessary. Tensions have been high since US President-elect Donald Trump broke with long-standing diplomatic protocol and took a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen. The head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, Chang Hsiao-Yueh, said the authorities were monitoring China's actions and appealed for calm.