A Chinese aircraft carrier and a US warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait that separates the island of Taiwan from mainland China on Friday, the Taiwan and US defense ministries said.
The Taiwan Defense Ministry, in a short message sent to AFP, confirmed the passage of the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong on Friday in the Taiwan Strait.
All aircraft carriers and ships of the People’s Liberation Army operating in the vicinity of the Taiwan Strait have been warned and monitored, the ministry warned.
In an email to AFP, the US Department of Defense then announced that “one of its destroyers” crossed the Taiwan Strait on Friday.
- Hear from international politics columnist Loïc Tassé with Benoit Dutrizac on QUB Radio:
The Taiwan Strait is a very sensitive area, and Beijing considers Taiwan, a democratic and self-governing island, part of its territory and has expressed a desire to one day seize it by force if necessary.
The United States, Taiwan’s main ally, regards the strait as an international maritime zone and has sent warships to the region to carry out operations in defense of “freedom of navigation.”
The Taiwan Defense Ministry’s announcement came ahead of the conversation between the heads of state of the US and China on the situation in Ukraine.
According to Chinese media, Chinese President Xi Jinping said during the interview that military conflicts between countries are “not in anyone’s interest.”
Il a notamment souligné qu’il incombait aux États-Unis et à la Chine, en tant que membres permanents du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU, d’assumer leurs «responsabilités internationales et de travailler à la paix (…) the scientist”.
For its part, the White House said that US President Joe Biden “reaffirmed that US policy toward Taiwan has not changed and stressed that the United States continues to oppose any changes. The status quo is unilateral.”
Movements of warships in the 180-kilometer-wide Taiwan Strait are common.
Shandong had previously sailed through the strait in December 2020, a day after a US warship passed.
The same aircraft carrier crossed the strait in December 2019, a few weeks before the elections in Taiwan.
Under the Biden administration, Washington has lent its support to Taipei, agreeing to at least two arms deals for the island to bolster its air and missile defense systems to respond to the warplane raids.
Beijing considers this support “seriously threatening” relations between the United States and China.
China has significantly boosted its strike force in recent years, sending 969 warplanes to the Taiwan Air Defense Zone in 2020, according to an AFP compilation, more than double the number of 380 aircraft in 2016.
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