By Tamsin Brown • 27 February 2022 • 11:02
The People’s Liberation Army of China has accused the US of “provocation” after a military vessel passed through the Taiwan Strait on February 26.
The People’s Liberation Army of China (the Chinese military) reported on the Chinese social network Weibo that the US destroyer USS Ralph Johnson had passed through the Taiwan Strait.
The US vessel transited the waters of the strait on Saturday, February 26, and the PLA “dispatched troops to monitor its movements”, according to Eastern Theatre Command spokesman Shi Yi.
The US action constitutes “an act of provocation” that seeks to “support Taiwan’s pro-independence forces”, Shi said, adding that such gestures are “hypocritical and futile”.
Shi said that Chinese troops remain “on high alert at all times” to protect China’s “sovereignty and security” and “regional stability”.
Last November, shortly after a virtual meeting between the presidents of China and the US, Xi Jinping and Joe Biden, the US destroyer USS Milius also crossed the Taiwan Strait in what the US command described as a “routine” operation but which sparked complaints from China.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, nine Chinese military aircraft flew over what Taiwan considers its Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), according to the island’s ministry of defence.
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which it considers a rogue province. It has not ruled out the use of force for its reunification.
The island is one of the biggest sources of conflict between China and the United States, mainly because Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and its main ally in the event of an outbreak of war with Beijing.
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Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news.
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