China says its troops are “on constant high alert” after US and Canadian warships moved through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday. This is these countries’ second joint voyage through this strait in two months.
The USS Rafael Peralta, an Arleigh Burke-class anti-missile vessel, and the Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigate HMCS Ottawa undertook a “routine cruise” through the strait, according to the US Navy.
Shi Yi, senior colonel and spokesman for China’s Eastern Command, believes his troops on the scene remain constantly on high alert and will protect the country’s national sovereignty and security, as well as regional peace and stability.
He labeled the latest passage as a “public uproar” and said his country’s navy and air force “continuously monitored the passage.”
The ships’ passage comes less than two months after two warships belonging to the US and Canada sailed through the strait between Taiwan and China on September 9.
The US and its Western allies have increased transits in the Taiwan Strait as well as the disputed South China Sea as “freedom of navigation”, emphasizing that both are in international waters. This infuriated Beijing.
The US Navy said in a statement that the passage was in accordance with international law “through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state”.
“Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a safe and prosperous region where aircraft and ships of all nations may fly, sail and operate as international law allows.”
Taiwan’s Defense Department said on Thursday it was monitoring the cruise, but added that “the situation is normal”.
China, which argues that Taiwan belongs to China and could seize the island in the future, has stepped up military and political pressure on the self-ruled island as relations between the countries have soured in recent years.
In September, China sent 103 aircraft around Taiwan within a 24-hour period, which Taipei described as “a recent peak”.