China has warned the United States against sailing warships in the Taiwan Strait, which separates self-ruled Taiwan from mainland China.
Last Thursday, the US Seventh Fleet said that the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn had passed through the Taiwan Strait a day earlier, the third such move since US President Joe Biden came to power in January.
Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for the Beijing-based Taiwan Affairs Office of State Council, said on Wednesday that the transit “sent the wrong signal to the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces, deliberately disrupting the regional situation and undermining the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.”
American warships periodically carry out such voyages through the strait, drawing reactions from China, which has sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan. Under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty.
The US, too, recognizes Chinese sovereignty over the island, but in an attempted affront to China and in violation of its own official policy, America constantly bypasses Beijing to sell weapons to the island and stage the shows of military force.
“We firmly oppose this,” Zhu further said, calling on Washington to abide by the “One China principle” and “the Three Communiques” signed with China regarding the status of Taiwan since the US and China first began talks nearly half a century ago.
She added that the Chinese armed forces were fully prepared to deter any possible US moves in the sensitive region.
“The People’s Liberation Army will always maintain a high level of alert and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhu said, stressing that the Taiwan issue is “China’s internal affair and does not allow any external interference.”
Taiwan boosts deployments in South China Sea
Separately on Wednesday, Taiwan’s newly-appointed defense minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told parliament that the self-ruled island had boosted deployments in the disputed South China Sea and that the US had approved the export of sensitive technology to equip Taiwan’s new submarine fleet.
He said Taiwan had increased personnel and armaments stationed on Itu Aba, the main island occupied by Taiwan in the South China Sea. The island, which is also known as Taiping, is garrisoned by Taiwan’s Coast Guard.
China claims sovereignty over nearly the entire South China Sea. The strategic body of water serves as a gateway to global sea routes, through which about 3.4 trillion dollars of trade passes each year. Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei have overlapping claims with China to parts of the sea.
“They are capable of starting a war,” Chiu further told the lawmakers when asked by a legislator on whether China could attack Taiwan. “My goal is for us to be ready at all times.”