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South China Sea conflict: US, China, exchange pushbacks over Taiwan Strait activities
Foreign ships that are seen passing through the Taiwan Strait have often drawn the ire of China, with the US as its constant target. Both Beijing and Washington have since exchanged pushbacks following the latest activities seen in the body of water.
China once again criticized the US when the US Navy deployed its second ship through the Taiwan Strait Tuesday. The US 7th Fleet deployed its USS Port Royal, which is a guided-missile cruiser, into the Taiwan Strait, citing that their transit was adhering to international law.
To note, the US Navy and its allies routinely conduct freedom of navigation patrols in the region and around the democratically-governed Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory.
China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said it followed the US cruiser when it sailed through the region Tuesday. The PLA accused Washington of showing support to Taiwan’s “independent secessionist forces.” Similar comments were made back in April when the US Navy deployed another ship through the Strait.
The PLA has since been engaging in its own military drills as Beijing looks to pressure Taiwan and its government to submit to China. Friday last week, 18 Chinese planes made an incursion into Taiwan’s airspace. This marks the biggest incursion by Chinese forces since January, when the PLA deployed 39 warplanes.
The PLA deployed 100 sorties from its Liaoning aircraft carrier, likely testing its capabilities and how fast the aircraft can take off and land, according to consultant Liao Yen-fan, of Taiwan’s Doublethink Lab. The test was also politically motivated, following China’s criticism of the wording by the US State Department of Taiwan on its website, calling Taiwan a “close ally” rather than its formal name, the Republic of China.
Previously, Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu expressed that he hopes the world would also show support for the island nation and sanction China should Beijing decide to invade.
“In the future, if we are threatened with force by China, or are invaded, of course, we hope the international community can understand and support Taiwan, and sanction these kinds of aggressive behaviors,” Wu told reporters at an event marking the founding the European Union.