China has accused the United States of initiating trouble in the Taiwan Strait recently, when a US guided-missile destroyer almost collided with a Chinese warship.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press conference on Monday that China “stands firmly against provocations from certain countries in the Taiwan Strait, and will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and regional peace and stability.”
"I want to emphasize that the truth is that the US side stirred up troubles and made provocation first, while the Chinese side dealt with this in accordance with corresponding laws and regulations."
"China always respects the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by all countries under international law. The actions taken by the Chinese military are necessary to respond to the provocations of relevant countries," he said.
"They are completely reasonable, legal, safe and professional. China firmly opposes certain countries making troubles in the Taiwan Strait region, and will resolutely safeguard the national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability," the spokesman added.
Wang said the spokesman of the Eastern Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) had already responded to the matter. Colonel Shi Yi, with the Chinese PLA Eastern Theater Command, censured the provocative move by the US Navy and Canadian Navy in a written statement released on Saturday.
The US Navy had accused a Chinese warship of cutting in front of an American vessel while taking part in a joint exercise with the Canadian Navy in the Taiwan Strait, forcing the American vessel to slow down to avoid collision.
The United States military released a video on Monday of what it described as an “unsafe” maneuver by a Chinese warship in the Taiwan Strait on the weekend.
In a Sunday speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore, China’s Defense Minister Li Shangfu accused the US and its allies of trying to destabilize the Indo-Pacific – just hours after the near collision.
In his speech, Li reiterated Beijing’s position on Taiwan, describing the self-ruled island as the “core of our core interests.”
The minister said a potential confrontation between China and the United States would inflict the world with an “unbearable disaster.”
China’s defense minister also warned that Washington’s pursuance of “NATO-like” military alliances in the Asia-Pacific could undermine regional stability and lead to conflagration.
The near miss in the Taiwan Strait came two weeks after an encounter between Chinese and American military aircraft over the South China Sea.
The mishaps dealt a blow to recent efforts in easing a diplomatic standoff between the United States and China after the US military shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon in February.
Washington and Beijing are at odds over a number of issues which are turning to be sources of direct confrontation.