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    China's Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of South China Sea, in this undated photo taken December 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Tensions have escalated between the two states after President-elect Donald Trump broke diplomatic protocol by taking a call from Taiwan's president.

Tensions are high between China and Taiwan after Chinese warships and an aircraft carrier passed through the Taiwan strait on Wednesday, causing Taiwan to scramble its own ships and jets.

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China’s only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, led a group of warships returning from a “blue water” drill where it was testing weapons and equipment in the disputed South China Sea, which China still claims control over.

The Chinese fleet did not cross into Taiwanese water, but did cross Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, the Taiwan Defense Ministry said.

Defense Ministry Spokesman Chen Chung-chi said that Taiwan scrambled jets and ships to “surveil and control” Chinese ships as they passed through the 100-mile wide strait which separates the mainland from the island.

China said the movement of its fleet was in accordance with international law and Chinese Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said it is normal for the Liaoning to cross the strait and that China's ships “couldn't always remain in port.”

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"I want to emphasize our government has sufficient capability to protect our national security. It's not necessary to overly panic … On the other hand, any threats would not benefit cross-Strait ties. Together we should show mutual good will,” said minister for Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, Chang Hsiao-yueh, in a press conference.

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Under the “One-China” principle, Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province belonging to the People's Republic of China and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control after defeated right-wing Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of a civil war with the Communists in 1949.

Recently, China has become increasingly wary of a push for formal Taiwanese independence under President Tsai Ing-wen.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump angered China in December when he broke with diplomatic protocol by taking a call from Tsai, raising questions about how his administration will handle sensitive issues around international diplomacy.


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