US sending warships to Taiwan strait undermines stability: China
China says the US is only flexing its muscles and stocking instability in the South China sea by sending its warships to the Taiwan Strait.
The United States is repeatedly sending warships to the Taiwan Strait in a show of force under the pretext of freedom of navigation, which is deliberately undermining regional peace and stability, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Monday.
US navy ships USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville passed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, through waters "where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law," according to the US seventh fleet.
China responded by putting its armed forces on high alert to try and prevent any provocations, the People's Liberation Army said.
"US warships frequently flex muscles in the name of exercising freedom of navigation. This is not about keeping the region free and open. This is a provocation aimed at 'freedom of trespassing' and it constitutes deliberate sabotage of regional peace and stability," the diplomat told a press briefing.
Zhao underlined that Beijing was urging the US to stop violating its One China principle, abuse by the basics of international relations, and observe the provisions of the three joint US-China communique.
Tensions soared between China and Taiwan earlier this month, reaching their highest in decades, due to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island after Beijing warned both Washington and Taipei against such a trip.
The bipartisan trip sparked a caustic response from Beijing, which said it had carried out "combat readiness patrol and combat drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan island."
In response to the delegation's visit, Beijing called on Washington to "stop going further down the wrong path of hollowing out and distorting the one-China principle, so as not to cause further damage to China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."
Since early August, China has carried out several large-scale military exercises near Taiwan in response to the visits of high-ranking US officials to the island.
Pelosi's visit also led China to announce ending cooperation with the United States on a number of issues such as climate change, anti-drug efforts, and military talks.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry had announced that Beijing will impose sanctions on Pelosi and her close relatives in response to her provocative visit to Taiwan. China also imposed restrictions on the purchase of fruit and seafood from Taiwan, as well as stopping sand supplies to the island.
The escalation in the region saw Taiwan announcing plans on increasing its security budget in light of rising tensions with Beijing, especially due to the latest developments that drove a wider wedge between China and Taipei.
Taipei proposed a security budget of $13.7 billion for 2023, marking a 13% year-on-year increase, pending parliamentary approval.
The island will also create a special budget allocated specifically for the acquisition of fighter jets and other aircraft and naval vessels to boost its capabilities in the maritime and aerial arenas.