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China says troops on ‘high alert’ after US, Canadian ships sail through Taiwan Strait

The file photo shows guided-missile destroyer USS Rafael Peralta.

China says its army is on “constant high alert” after American and Canadian ships sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, their second joint transit in two months, condemning the provocative move as a “public hype.”

The US Navy on Wednesday said that the USS Rafael Peralta, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and the Royal Canadian Navy's Halifax-class frigate HMCS Ottawa had conducted what it called a “routine” earlier in the day.

In a statement on Thursday, Senior Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesman for China's Eastern Theater Command slammed the move, warning that Chinese troops were on “high alert.”

“Troops in the theater remain on constant high alert, and will resolutely protect national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability,” he said.

Shi denounced the latest transit as a “public hype,” stressing that China’s naval and air forces had “trailed their entire course.”

On September 9, two American and Canadian warships passed through the narrow waterway, which separates Chinese Taipei and mainland China, prompting similar reaction from Beijing.

The US constantly claims that the transits are made in accordance with international law and “through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State.”

China has sovereignty over the Chinese Taipei, and under the "One China" policy, almost all world countries, including the US, recognize that sovereignty. However, Washington has long courted Taipei in an attempt to unnerve Beijing.

Furthermore, Washington, which backs Taipei’s secessionist president Tsai Ing-wen, also infuriates Beijing by selling weapons to the self-governed island in violation of its own official policy.

China has been increasing its military operations around the self-ruled island over the past few years, due to the US and Western allies’ provocations by naval vessels through both the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.

In September, Beijing sent in 103 planes around Taiwan within a 24-hour period in a show of force, which Taipei described as “a recent high.”

China describes Taiwan as the most sensitive and significant issue in its relations with the US, and the topic remains a constant source of friction between Beijing and Washington.

Beijing has time and again said it will use force, if necessary, to add Taiwan to China’s mainland. President Xi Jinping, in an address to the 20th Communist Party Congress in October 2022, made the same warning.

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