China protested this Thursday against the passage of a US destroyer across the Taiwan Strait, at a time when both nations are increasing their naval activities in the region.
China tracked and monitored the USS John S. McCain along its passage on Wednesday, said Zhang Chunhui, a spokesman for the East China military command, in a statement.
The destroyer crossing sent the “wrong signal” to the Government of Taiwan and “deliberately disrupted the regional situation by jeopardizing peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” he said.
China is firmly opposed to these movements and Chinese forces will respond with “strict precautions and vigilance,” he added.
Taiwan has lived as an autonomous territory since 1949, when the former Chinese nationalist government took refuge on the island, after the defeat in the civil war against the communists.
Formally called the Republic of China, Taiwan has, however, become a democracy with a strong civil society, but Beijing considers the island to be part of its territory and threatens reunification by force.
The United States is the island’s great allies.
In a one-sentence statement, the US Navy said McCain “carried out a routine transit across the Taiwan Strait on April 7, in international waters, in accordance with international law,” reads.
McCain’s move follows China’s announcement on Monday that its Liaoning aircraft carrier and associated vessels were conducting exercises near Taiwan, aimed at “safeguarding Chinese national sovereignty, security and development interests”.
The US Navy announced that aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and its attack group re-entered the South China Sea on Saturday to “conduct routine operations”.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea, despite protests from neighboring countries, and is strongly opposed to foreign naval activity in resource-rich and heavily transit waters.
Although the Taiwan Strait is in international waters, its transit by United States Navy ships is seen as a partially symbolic demonstration that Washington will not allow Beijing’s forces to dominate that maritime space.
Chinese air raids, including flights around the island, have become an almost daily occurrence, serving to announce the threat and learn more about Taiwan’s capabilities.
On Wednesday, Taiwan’s foreign minister said the island would defend itself “until the last day” if it is attacked by China.
The vast improvements in China’s military capabilities and its growing activity around Taiwan have raised concerns in the US, which is legally obliged to ensure that Taiwan is able to defend itself and to consider all threats to the island’s security as “serious” issues. concern”.
During a regular meeting on Wednesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price reiterated that Washington’s commitment to Taiwan is “rock solid”.
“We believe and know that this contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and also in the region,” said Price.
“The United States maintains the ability to resist any recourse to force or any other form of coercion that would jeopardize the security or the social or economic system of the people of Taiwan,” he said.
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