A British warship has sailed through the Taiwan Strait – a move that angered China, which claims self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory.
China’s military followed and warned the British warship that sailed across the waters the People’s Liberation Army said on Monday, adding that Britain was engaging in behaviour that “harboured evil intentions”.
“After a busy period working with partners and allies in the East China Sea, we are new en route through the Taiwan straight to visit Vietnam and the Vietnam People’s Navy,” the official account of the frigate HMS Richmond said on Twitter.
Warships from the US Navy navigate through the strait on roughly a monthly basis, drawing condemnation from China.
American allies have traditionally been more reluctant to pass through the strait but have been increasing their activity, and in the South China Sea – much of which China also claims at its waters – more generally.
In 2019, another Royal Navy ship, the HMS Enterprise, a survey vessel, navigated the strait.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said: “HMS Richmond is navigating the Taiwan Strait in accordance with international law to the next destination. Wherever the Royal Navy operate, they do so in full compliance with international laws and norms, and exercise their rights to freedom of navigation and overflight provided by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). HMS Richmond is no exception.”
Taiwan’s defence minister Chiu Kun-cheng did not comment directly, according to Reuters.
“When they pass through the Taiwan Strait our nation’s military will have a grasp of the situation, but will not interfere,” he said.
Chinese state media, People’s Daily, wrote on Twitter: “PLA on Mon tracked and monitored a British frigate sailing through Taiwan Strait.
“With ill intentions, UK’s move destroyed peace and stability in the area. China is on high alert and is ready to respond to all threats and provocations at any time: PLA Eastern Theater Command.”
Earlier this year, Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu told Sky News that Taiwan and the British government had not discussed military plans related to the strait, although he said the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group was welcome in the region.
In a joint statement in February, Japan and the UK “reaffirmed the importance of upholding freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and urged all parties to exercise self-restraint and refrain from all activities likely to raise tensions.”
The Communist state has greatly increased its incursions into Taiwan’s self-declared air defence identification zone (ADIZ), regularly dispatching bombers, fighters and other aircraft.
On June 15, 28 military airplanes flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ – the highest number in a single day so far.
China has never discounted the use of force to ensure what it calls the “reunification” of Taiwan and China.
Taiwan has never been ruled by the Chinese Communist Party and has its own constitution, military and democratically-elected government.
Source: Read Full Article