China troops on 'high alert' after US, Canada ships pass Taiwan Strait
The two ships, named in the statement only as "Johnson" of the US and "Ottawa" of Canada, were said by military spokesperson Colonel Shi Yi to have "openly hyped up" their transit.
After two US and Canadian vessels passed through the Taiwan Strait, China released a statement on Saturday that its troops were "on constant high alert," according to military spokesperson Senior Colonel Shi Yi said.
"The Eastern Theatre Command of China's PLA organized naval and air forces to trail their entire course and stand alert in accordance with laws and regulations," said Colonel Shi, referring to the People's Liberation Army, adding that "troops in the theatre remain on constant high alert, and will resolutely protect national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability."
The two ships, named in the statement only as "Johnson" of the US and "Ottawa" of Canada, "openly hyped up" their transit.
The US and the West have been increasing passages in the context of "freedom of navigation" by naval vessels of both the Taiwan Strait and the disputed South China Sea, which has been constantly angering China.
Just a déjà vu
Around this time last year, Colonel Shi said the Chinese armed forces were on high alert to halt any provocations after the US Navy cruisers went through the Taiwan Strait.
"The US Navy cruisers Chancellorsville and Antietam made the passage through the Taiwan Strait on August 28, causing widespread attention. The PLA Eastern Theater Command escorted the US cruisers and exercised full control over their activities. Command units are on heightened alert to stop any provocations in a timely manner," he said on WeChat.
Earlier last month, military drills by China were witnessed around Taiwan on Saturday as a show of "stern warning" following a stopover in the US by the island's Vice President, William Lai, who is a vocal opponent of China's territory claims.
China called Lai a "troublemaker" in response to the trip and vowed to take "resolute measures... to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity."