Taiwan scrambled jets and navy ships yesterday as a group of Chinese warships led by China's sole aircraft carrier sailed north through the Taiwan Strait, the latest sign of heightened tensions between Beijing and the self-ruled Taiwan.

The incident happened a day after three Chinese warships were spotted near southern Japan.

The Soviet-built Liaoning aircraft carrier, returning from exercises in the South China Sea, was not trespassing in Taiwan's territorial waters but entered its air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in the southwest, Taiwan's Defence Ministry said.

As a result Taiwan scrambled jets and navy ships to "surveil and control" the passage of the Chinese ships through the narrow body of water separating Taiwan and China, Taiwan Defence Ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi said.

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Taiwanese military aircraft and ships have been deployed to follow the carrier group.

Taiwan's top policymaker for China affairs on Wednesday urged Beijing to resume dialogue with Taipei, after official communication channels were halted by Beijing from June.

China has said the Liaoning aircraft carrier was on drills to test weapons and equipment in the disputed South China Sea and its movements comply with international law.

On Tuesday, three Chinese navy ships sailed near the Japanese island of Kyushu, but did not enter what Japan considers to be its territorial waters, Japan said.