March 22, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Chinese and American warships in the Taiwan Strait

Chinese and American warships in the Taiwan Strait

Taiwan and the U.S. Defense Ministry said on Friday that a Chinese aircraft carrier and a U.S. warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island of Taiwan from mainland China.

In a brief message to the AFP, the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense confirmed on Friday that the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong was sailing in the Taiwan Strait.

“We emphasize that we have alerted and are monitoring all aircraft carriers and ships of the PLA (Chinese People’s Liberation Army) operating near the Taiwan Strait,” the ministry warned.

In an email to the AFP, the US Department of Defense announced that “one of (its) destroyers” had crossed the Taiwan Strait on Friday.

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The Taiwan Strait is a very sensitive area, with Beijing, a democratic and autonomous island, considered part of Taiwan’s territory and a desire to one day forcibly seize it if necessary.

The United States, Taiwan’s major ally, considers the strait an international maritime area and has sent warships to the area to carry out operations under the protection of “freedom of navigation”.

A statement from Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense came ahead of talks between US and Chinese leaders on the situation in Ukraine.

According to Chinese media, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in an interview that military conflicts between the states are “to no one’s benefit”.

In particular, he stressed that the United States and China, permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, have a responsibility to “accept international responsibilities and work for world peace (…).”

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The White House, for its part, reiterated that US President Joe Biden has reiterated that US policy towards Taiwan has not changed and that the United States continues to oppose any change.

The movement of warships in the 180 km wide Taiwan Strait is not uncommon.

Shandong previously sailed across the strait in December 2020, the day after the US warship crossed.

The same aircraft carrier crossed the strait in December 2019, just weeks before the election in Taiwan.

During the Biden administration, Washington extended its support to Taipei, approving at least two arms deals for the island to strengthen its air and missile defense systems in response to warplane intrusions.

Beijing felt that this support would “seriously compromise” relations between the United States and China.

According to the AFP compilation, China has increased its strike force in recent years by sending 969 fighter jets to Taiwan’s air defense zone in 2020, more than twice the 380 aircraft reported in 2016.