In a new show of force, China’s first aircraft carrier and five other warships passed by Taiwan and sailed into the contested South China Sea on Monday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry reported Monday. China’s Defense Ministry said Saturday that the Liaoning carrier 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. The ships, led by the Liaoning, sailed past the Pratas Islands, also known as the Dongsha Islands, a Taiwan-controlled atoll in the northern part of the South China Sea, according to Taiwan. READ MORE