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China protests US destroyer transit through Taiwan Strait




BEIJING (AP) China on Thursday protested the passage of a US destroyer through the Taiwan Strait as part of the latest move, as the two countries increase naval activity in the region.

China followed and monitored the USS John S. McCain throughout its passage on Wednesday, Zhang Chunhui, spokesperson for the Chinese Army’s Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement.

The US decision sent the wrong signal to the Taiwan government and willfully disrupted the regional situation by endangering peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, he said. China strongly opposed the move and Chinese forces will respond with strict caution and vigilance, he added.

China is threatening to invade Taiwan to assert its claim on autonomous island democracy, which enjoys strong American support.

In a one-sentence statement, the US Navy said the McCain routed the Taiwan Strait on April 7 (local time) through international waters in accordance with international law.

The McCains transit follows China’s announcement on Monday that its aircraft carrier Liaoning and associated ships are conducting exercises near Taiwan in a bid to help it protect national sovereignty, security and development interests , terms often interpreted as referring to Taiwanese leaders who refused to give in to Beijing. demands that he recognize the island as part of Chinese territory.

Meanwhile, the US Navy announced that the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and its strike group re-entered the South China Sea on Saturday to conduct routine operations, the second time the strike group has entered the waterway. strategic this year.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea and strongly opposes foreign naval activity in resource-rich and heavily transit waters, especially the US practice of navigating warships near features held by China in what it calls the freedom of navigation operations.

While the Taiwan Strait is in international waters, its transit by US Navy ships is seen as a partly symbolic demonstration that Washington will not allow Beijing’s forces to dominate the waterway.

Along with military exercises, China has sent fighter jets almost daily to the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone to pressure President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration and announce its threat of military action.

This prompted a statement by Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Wednesday that Taiwan will wage a war if we are to wage a war, and if we have to defend ourselves until the last day, we will defend ourselves until the last day. .

The vast improvements in China’s military capabilities and its growing activity around Taiwan have raised concerns in the United States, which is legally bound to ensure that Taiwan is able to defend itself and consider all threats to the security of the islands as matters of serious concern.

In a regular briefing on Wednesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price reiterated that our commitment to Taiwan is rock solid.

We believe and we know that this contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and in the region as well, said Price. The United States retains the ability to resist any use of force or any other form of coercion that jeopardizes the security or the social or economic system of the people of Taiwan.

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