China’s military announced on Wednesday that it had tracked and warned a US warship passing through the Taiwan Strait, a mission that occurred just after China conducted drills near the island.
The guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal performed a “regular” Taiwan Strait transit in international waters on Tuesday, the second such trip in two weeks, according to the US Navy’s 7th Fleet.
The US has been making such journeys roughly once a month, which has enraged China, which sees them as a show of support for Taiwan, a democratically run island that Beijing considers to be Chinese property.
The Eastern Theatre Command of the People’s Liberation Army said in a statement that its forces had been monitoring the ship throughout and had “warned” it.
“The US often produces such spectacles and stirs up trouble, sending mixed signals to Taiwan independence forces and purposefully inflaming tensions across the Taiwan Strait,” it continued. “At all times, theatre forces are on high alert, resolutely countering all threats and provocations, and resolutely defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” says the statement.
The ship “passed through a gap in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State,” according to the US Navy.
“The United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific is demonstrated by Port Royal’s transit across the Taiwan Strait.” The US military can fly, sail, and operate anyplace that international law permits.”
The US ship travelled north across the strait, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, and the situation in the waterway was “as normal.”
The ministry claimed late Tuesday that a single Chinese WZ-10 attack helicopter had briefly crossed the strait’s unofficial midline, which combat aircraft from both sides typically avoid crossing, but China’s air force does so on occasion.
Two Chinese KA-28 anti-submarine helicopters were also observed midway between Taiwan’s southern coast and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea, according to the report.
The People’s Liberation Army stated on Monday that China’s armed forces conducted another round of exercises near Taiwan last week to boost collaborative combat operations, after the Chinese-controlled island reported an increase in activity.
On April 27, the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson passed across the Taiwan Strait, which China denounced, claiming that such deployments “deliberately” endanger peace and stability.
Although the United States, like other countries, has no formal diplomatic connections with Taiwan, it is its most important international supporter and armaments supplier, causing tension between Beijing and Washington.