The Chinese government on Wednesday (20) condemned the passage of a US warship through the Taiwan Strait, accusing the United States of wanting to “destroy the peace and stability” of this strategic corridor that separates the island from mainland China.
“The frequent US provocations and fanfare fully demonstrate that the US is destroying peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” while creating risks, said the spokesman for China’s Eastern Theater Command, Colonel Shi Yi.
On Tuesday, the “USS Benfold,” an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, “conducted a routine passage through the Taiwan Strait in international waters,” the US Seventh Fleet said.
“The ship transited a corridor of the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state,” the statement added. Chinese forces are always “on high alert to (resolutely) preserve national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Chinese colonel stressed.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it closely monitored the ship’s passage and that “the situation was normal.” Beijing considers Taiwan as part of its territory that will return to its control, even if by force. In this context, the 180-kilometer strait that separates the island from mainland China is a sensitive issue.
The United States and its allies see the Taiwan Strait, for their part, as part of international waters open to all. Since January, American warships have been crossing this channel almost every month.
In June, the Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed that “China has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait.”
“It is a false allegation that some countries call the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters’ to find a pretext to manipulate Taiwan-related issues and threaten China’s sovereignty and security,” the Chinese spokesman said.
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