Chinese military on alert after US, Canada vessels enter Taiwan strait
Following the transit of the USS Higgins and the Canadian ship HMSC Vancouver in the Taiwan Strait amid escalating regional tensions, the Chinese military forces are currently on high alert.
A spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), Senior Colonel Shi Yi, said Wednesday that the Chinese armed forces are still on high alert following the passage of the USS Higgins and the Canadian ship HMSC Vancouver in the Taiwan Strait amid rising regional tensions.
The US 7th Fleet said that the naval ships had transited the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday to demonstrate the "commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific."
"The US torpedo-boat destroyer USS Higgins and the Canadian frigate HMSC Vancouver proceeded via the Taiwan Strait on September 20. The eastern zone of the PLA combat command instructed that naval and air forces accompany the vessels along the entire route. The command units maintain high combat readiness to rapidly resist all threats and provocations and resolutely defend state sovereignty and territorial integrity," Shi said on WeChat.
After US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in early August, tensions in the area grew worse. China denounced Pelosi's visit, which it saw as an endorsement of secession, and began extensive military drills close to the island.
Since then, a number of nations, including France, Lithuania, the US, and Japan, have dispatched delegations to the island, raising the already high level of tension in the Taiwan Strait.
US 7th Fleet destroyer, Canadian frigate
The Navy's 7th Fleet issued a press release whereby it stated that a USS Higgins and a Canadian HMSC Vancouver transited the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday.
“Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (DDG 76), in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331), conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit Sept. 20 (local time) through waters where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law,” the statement said.
"The ships transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State," it claimed, completely disregarding the fact that the term international waters does not apply to the Taiwan Strait as per a Chinese spokesperson.
It added that the transit demonstrated “the commitment of the US and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
On another note, the US navy said last month that two of its warships have entered the Taiwan Strait, the first such transit since tensions rose between the US and China over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.
The guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville set sail "through waters where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law," according to the US 7th Fleet in Japan.
In a statement, the US Navy claimed that the transit "demonstrates the United States' commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific."
" The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows," it added.
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