The Chinese government on Wednesday condemned the passage of a US warship through the Taiwan Strait, accusing it of wanting to “destroy peace and stability” in this strategic corridor that separates the island from mainland China.
“Repeated US provocations and bombings fully demonstrate that the United States (destroying) peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” while creating dangers, said a spokesman for China’s Eastern Theater Command, Colonel Shi Yi.
The US Seventh Fleet said the USS Penfold-class destroyer Arleigh Burke “performed routine passage through the Taiwan Strait … in international waters.”
“The ship passed through a corridor of the strait that goes beyond the territorial sea of any coastal country,” the statement added.
The Chinese colonel added that the Chinese forces were “on high alert (resolutely) to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it was closely monitoring the ship’s passage, stressing that “the situation is normal.”
Beijing considers Taiwan a part of its territory that is destined to return to its fold, if necessary by force – and the 180-kilometer-wide strait that separates the island from mainland China is a sore spot. On the contrary, the United States and its allies consider the Taiwan Strait to be part of international waters that are open to all. Since January, American warships have been passing there almost every month.
In June, the Chinese Foreign Ministry affirmed that “China has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait.”
“It is a false claim when some countries call the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters’ in order to find a pretext to manipulate issues related to Taiwan and threaten China’s sovereignty and security,” his spokesman said.
A position that was immediately refuted by Taipei, describing its neighbor’s statements as “wrong” and “unacceptable”.
Beijing has “deliberately distorted international rules in order to introduce the Taiwan Strait into its exclusive economic zone.”
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