A British warship has crossed the Taiwan Strait – a move that has angered China, which claims Taiwan autonomy as part of its territory.
The Chinese military followed and warned the British warship that crossed the waters, the People’s Liberation Army said on Monday, adding that Britain was engaging in behavior that “harbored bad intentions.”
“After a busy period of working with partners and allies in the East China Sea, we are new on our way across the Taiwan directly to visit Vietnam and the Vietnamese People’s Navy, ”the frigate HMS Richmond’s official account said on Twitter.
US Navy warships sail the strait about once a month, drawing condemnation from China.
U.S. allies have traditionally been more reluctant to pass through the Strait but have increased their activity, and into the South China Sea – much of which China claims in its waters as well – more generally.
In 2019, another Royal Navy vessel, the HMS Enterprise, a survey vessel, sailed through the strait.
A spokesperson for the Department of Defense said, “HMS Richmond is sailing the Taiwan Strait in accordance with international law to the next destination. freedom of navigation and overflight provided for by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). HMS Richmond is no exception.
Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kun-cheng did not comment directly, according to Reuters.
“When they cross the Taiwan Strait, our nation’s military will have an understanding of the situation, but will not intervene,” he said.
Chinese state media People’s Daily wrote on Twitter: “The PLA on Mon has been tracking and monitoring a British frigate sailing the Taiwan Strait.
“With bad intentions, the UK’s decision destroyed peace and stability in the region. China is on high alert and ready to respond to all threats and provocations at any time: PLA Eastern Theater Command. “
PLA on Mon followed and guarded a British frigate navigating the Taiwan Strait. With bad intentions, the UK decision destroyed peace and stability in the region. China is on high alert and ready to respond to all threats and provocations at any time: PLA Eastern Theater Command pic.twitter.com/KiLIWFnKnp
– People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) September 27, 2021
Earlier this year, Taiwanese 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 strike group of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth was welcome to the region.
In a joint statement in February, Japan and the United Kingdom “reaffirmed the importance of maintaining the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and urged all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from all activity. likely to cause tension ”.
The Communist state has dramatically increased its forays into Taiwan’s self-proclaimed Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), regularly sending bombers, fighters and other planes.
On June 15, 28 military planes flew over Taiwan’s ADIZ – the highest number in a single day so far.
China has never ruled out the use of force to secure what it calls the “reunification” of Taiwan and China.
Taiwan has never been ruled by the Chinese Communist Party and has its own constitution, a military and democratically elected government.