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China Tracks, Warns US Warship in Taiwan Strait
By Staff, Agencies
The Chinese military declared that it tracked and warned a US warship that had sailed through the strategic Taiwan Strait in a second such move in two weeks.
In a statement on Wednesday, the People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command said its forces had monitored the ship throughout and “warned” it.
“The United States frequently stages such dramas and provokes trouble, sending wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces, and deliberately intensifying tensions across the Taiwan Strait," it said.
The army further mentioned: “Theatre troops maintain high alert at all times, resolutely counteract all threats and provocations, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
In response, the US Navy's 7th Fleet claimed the guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal conducted a “routine” Taiwan Strait transit through international waters “in accordance with international law” on Tuesday.
The Navy said the warship “transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State.”
US warships regularly conduct military drills in the sensitive strait, which Beijing says stokes regional tensions, and destabilizes the waters of the South China Sea.
The US Navy said on Tuesday that the latest transit through the strait “demonstrates the United States' commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The latest incident follows a large-scale military exercise by China in the waters surrounding the island on Monday.
The drill was conducted near Taiwan to improve joint combat operations, the People's Liberation Army said on Monday after the Chinese-claimed island reported a spike in activity.
Meanwhile, the Taipei’s Defense Ministry late on Tuesday said a single Chinese WZ-10 attack helicopter briefly crossed the strait's unofficial midline. It also reported that two Chinese KA-28 anti-submarine helicopters were spotted in an area at the top part of the South China Sea.
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