US 7th Fleet destroyer, Canadian frigate transit Taiwan Strait: Navy
The US 7th Fleet employs the term "international waters" to justify more attempts to provoke China.
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.”
The strategic term "international waters" has been used by the US and its allies several times to continue their provocations against China.
In a press conference on June 13, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, "The Taiwan Strait ranges in width from about 70 nautical miles at its narrowest and 220 nautical miles at its widest. According to UNCLOS and Chinese laws, the waters of the Taiwan Strait, extending from both shores toward the middle of the Strait, are divided into several zones including internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, and the Exclusive Economic Zone. China has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait. At the same time, it respects the lawful rights of other countries in relevant waters."
He added that "there is no legal basis of 'international waters' in the international law of the sea. It is a false claim when certain countries call the Taiwan Strait “international waters” in order to find a pretext for manipulating issues related to Taiwan and threatening China’s sovereignty and security. China is firmly against this."
Guo Xinning, a senior researcher at Taihe Institute, predicted that the likelihood for the PLA of China and Taiwanese separatists to be engaged in hostilities over the next few years is low, but the current administration of the island and the US have the potential to provoke unpredictable consequences.
"Over the next few years, the likelihood of a large-scale war in the Taiwan Strait is small, but if the separatists in Taipei, together with the US, persist in taking steps in the wrong direction, it’s likely that the Chinese government will take decisive measures" Guo Xinning, who is also a professor at Tsinghua University, said in an interview.