China’s defense ministry protested Saturday against the passage of a US navy vessel and coastguard cutter across the waters between China and Taiwan. In a statement, the defense ministry stressed that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.”
In a statement posted on the website, the ministry called the movement a provocative move, saying that the United States was the greatest threat to peace and stability and security threats in the 160-kilometer-long Taiwan Strait. “We express strong opposition and strong condemnation,” reads the statement.
The guided missile destroyer USS Kidd and the Munro Coast Guard cutter sailed across the strait in international waters on Friday. Such exercises are seen by Washington as a warning to China that recently conducted exercises near Taiwan and did not give up the use of force to take control of the island.
A statement from the Chinese Defense Ministry on Saturday said that “Taiwan is an inalienable part of China” and that China will not tolerate any interference in what it calls its home affairs.
The US is the largest supplier of military equipment for Taiwan
“The lawful transit of ships through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States to the free and open Indo-Pacific region,” states a statement from Japan’s Seventh Navy.
The US Coast Guard is increasing its presence in Asia as Chinese Coast Guard patrols are located near the disputed islands in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
Taiwan, inhabited by 23.6 million people, split off from China during the civil war that led to the Communist Party taking control of the continent in 1949. The United States does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but maintains a representation in the capital Taipei and is the largest supplier of military equipment for its defense.
Main photo source: Crishanda K. McCall / Wikimedia CC BY 2.0