wall street journal
US and Canadian warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday, following President Joe Biden’s remarks over the weekend that the US would defend Taiwan in the event of an attack by China.
US Navy ship, the Earl Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins, conducted a “routine Taiwan Strait transit” on Tuesday, US Navy spokesman Lieutenant Mark Langford said in a statement.
The US ship conducted the transit “in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Vancouver”, Langford said.
“Both ships transited through a corridor in the strait that extends beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state,” said Lieutenant Langford. The transit “reflects the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Lt. Langford.
Tuesday’s transit marked the second time in just three weeks that a US Navy warship had made the voyage. The guided missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville did so on 28 August.
Although the US called the transit “routine”, it comes as Biden escalated tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan, telling CBS’s “60 Minutes” that if China tried to invade, it would not visit the island. Will use US troops for defense.
The Strait is a 110-mile (180-kilometre) stretch of water that separates the democratic self-governing island of Taiwan from mainland China.
China’s ruling Communist Party has never controlled it, yet Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan – an island of 23 million people. Beijing also claims sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the waters of the Taiwan Strait under Chinese law and its interpretation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
However, the US Navy maintains that most of the strait is in international waters, citing the UNCLOS definition of territorial waters extending up to 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) from a country’s coastline. The US regularly sends its warships through the strait, which has led to dozens of such transits in recent years.
In a CBS interview, Biden was asked whether “the US military, American men and women, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.”
“Yes,” replied the US President.
The comments reiterated a pledge to defend Taiwan that Biden had previously made, although on Sunday he specified that “American men and women” would join the effort.
Daniel Le Boutillier, the Canadian Defense Ministry’s head of media relations, confirmed that Canada participated in the transit on Tuesday.
“After port visits to Jakarta, Indonesia and Manila, Philippines, HMCS Vancouver sailed with USS Higgins through the Taiwan Straits, as it was the most direct shipping route. The sail was carried out in full accordance with international law, including Includes higher maritime navigation rights outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Le Boutillier told CNN.
Chinese aircraft and ships were present through “various parts” of the transit of American and Canadian ships, the US military confirmed, but “all interactions with foreign military forces during the transit were in accordance with international standards and practices and affected the operation.” didn’t,” Langford said.
Beijing swiftly condemned Biden’s comments over the weekend and reiterated its warning that China reserves the “option to take all necessary measures” to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
“The US comment seriously violates the One-China Principle and the provisions of three US-China joint communiques. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said in a briefing on Monday, it is also a serious violation of the important commitment made by the US side not to support Taiwan’s independence.
“This sent a serious wrong signal to the separatist forces of Taiwan’s independence. China has expressed its strong dissatisfaction and strong opposition and made serious representation to the American side,” Mao said.
US and Canadian warships last crossed the strait 11 months ago at the same time as the destroyer USS Dewey and the frigate HMCS Winnipeg.
After that transit, Senior Colonel Xi Yi, spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command, said in a written statement that “the United States and Canada provoked with abominable nature and provoked disturbances in Cahoot, which seriously undermined peace and stability.” Threatened. Across the Taiwan Strait. ”
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has said a “reunification” between China and Taiwan is inevitable and refused to rule out the use of force. Tensions between Beijing and Taipei are at their highest in recent decades, with Chinese forces conducting major military exercises near the island.