Image source: ABC News
US and Canadian warships passed through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday after US President Joe Biden announced his intention to defend Taiwan.
Defensive aid comes as a precaution in case of an attack from China.
US Navy spokesman Lt. Mark Langford released a statement saying the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins made a “routine transit through the Taiwan Strait” on Tuesday. .
The US Navy vessel passed by the Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Vancouver.
According to Lt. Langford, the two ships passed through a corridor in the strait beyond the territorial sea of a coastal state.
The transit is intended to demonstrate the commitment of the United States and its allies and partners to a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The trip marks the second time in more than three weeks that a U.S. Navy warship has made the trip, as cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville traveled Aug. 28.
When US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan early last month, Chinese military ships and submarines began to proliferate.
Although the transit is “routine”, it came after Biden fueled tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan.
In a speech on CBS 60 Minutes last Sunday, he said he would deploy American troops to defend the island in the event of a Chinese invasion.
Beijing has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan, although the ruling Communist Party has never controlled the island.
They also claim sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the waters of the strait under Chinese law.
But the US Navy says much of the strait is in international waters, citing a United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) definition of territorial waters extending 12 nautical miles from the coast. of a country.
The United States has made several transits and sent warships through the strait in recent years.
During the 60 Minutes interview, Biden was asked if US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, to which he said yes.
His comments reiterated a promise he had previously made to defend Taiwan.
On Sunday, however, Biden emphasized that American men and women would be involved in the effort.
Daniel Le Bouthillier, Canada’s media director, confirmed that Canada joined the transit on Tuesday.
“Following port visits in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Manila, Philippines, HMCS Vancouver sailed through the Taiwan Strait along with the USS Higgins, as this was the most direct navigational route,” said Le Bouthillier.
“This sail was done in full accordance with international law, including high seas navigation rights as outlined in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”
According to the US military, Chinese planes and ships were present as the US and Canadian warships passed.
However, Lt. Langford found interactions with foreign forces to be consistent with international standards and practices.
As news of Biden’s comments spread, Beijing reiterated its warning that China would take all necessary measures to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
During a briefing on Monday, Mao Ning, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, issued a statement saying:
“The US remarks seriously violate the one-China principle and the provisions of the three US-China joint communiques.”
“It is also a serious violation of the important commitment made by the US side not to support Taiwan independence,” she added.
“It sent a serious wrong signal to the separatist forces of Taiwan independence.”
“China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition, and has made serious representation to the US side.”
The last time American and Canadian warships sailed through the strait together was eleven months ago, when the destroyer USS Dewey and the frigate HMCS Winnipeg made the trip.
After this trip, Senior Col. Shi Yi, spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command, wrote a statement.
He says the United States and Canada have committed “provocations with odious nature” and created problems that have seriously threatened peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping said China-Taiwan “reunification” was inevitable and refused to rule out the use of force.
Tensions between Beijing and Taipei have risen in recent decades, and the Chinese military has held major military exercises near the island.