Friday, January 6, 2023

US warship transits the crucial Taiwan Strait, upsetting China

US warship sails through sensitive Taiwan Strait; China angered


WASHINGTON: Thursday's passage of a US warship through the delicate Taiwan Strait is considered routine by the US military but has enraged China.

China, which claims Taiwan in spite of the objections of its democratically elected government, has been angered by US and occasionally allied warships sailing through the strait in recent years.

The guided-missile destroyer Chung-Hoon, of the Arleigh Burke class, was said by the US military to have carried out the transit.

The statement went on to say that "Chung-Hoon's transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States' commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific."

China strongly opposed the move and urged the United States to "immediately stop provoking troubles, escalating tensions, and undermining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," according to Liu Pengyu, spokesman for China's embassy in Washington.

"In the name of exercising freedom of navigation, United States warships frequently flex their muscles. The statement stated that "this is not about keeping the region free and open."

"China will resolutely safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will continue to remain on high alert and prepared to respond to all threats and provocations at any time."

"All movements were under control," according to a spokesman for the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command, which organized troops to monitor and guard the ship's transit.

The ship sailed north through the strait, according to Taiwan's Defense Ministry, and its forces monitored its movement and found nothing unusual.

Since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the communists who established the People's Republic of China, the narrow Taiwan Strait has frequently been a source of military tension.

Although the United States of America is obligated by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, the two countries do not have formal diplomatic ties.

China has never denied the possibility of imposing its will on Taiwan. Taiwan declares that Beijing's claims to sovereignty are null and void because the People's Republic of China has never ruled the island, and it promises to defend itself if attacked.

In the contested South China Sea last month, a Chinese military plane came within 10 feet (3 meters) of a U.S. air force aircraft, forcing it to make evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision in international airspace.

The close encounter occurred after what the United States described as a recent pattern of increasingly risky behavior on the part of Chinese military aircraft.

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