Chinese Forces On High Alert After US Plane Flies Through Taiwan Strait
BEIJING - China says that its military went on high alert and they mobilized ground and air forces after a U.S. maritime plane flew through the Taiwan Strait. Furthermore, China says that its forces now remain on high alert.
Colonel Shi Yi, who is the spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) put out a statement saying that the Chinese military went on high alert after a U.S. plane flew through the Taiwan Strait.
China says that the plane flew through the strait deliberately and endangered peace and stability in the region. Flight Radar images, and the Pentagon have both confirmed that a P-8A aircraft flew over the Taiwan Strait on June 24th.
Earlier in June, China had notified the United States that the Taiwan Strait is a part of their maritime exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and not international waters, opposing the U.S. view that the strait is part of international waters. They have also given a warning to the U.S. to stay out of the Strait saying that they have sovereign rights over it.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, "Our policy hasn't changed, but unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be true for the PRC. We're seeing growing coercion from Beijing". "We've witnessed a steady increase in provocative and destabilizing military activity near Taiwan. That includes PLA aircraft flying near Taiwan in record numbers in recent months — and on a nearly daily basis," he added.
China's Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe responded by saying that "If anyone dares to secede Taiwan from China, we will not hesitate to fight. We will fight at all costs, and we will fight to the very end. This is the only choice for China".
The ministry of foreign affairs put out a statement saying "The biggest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is the obdurate separatist activities of the “Taiwan independence” forces and the US’s connivance and endorsement of such activities".
They put out another statement saying "The US has deployed military aircraft and warships in the SCS on a regular basis and its reconnaissance aircraft have electronically impersonated the civil aircraft of other countries there many times. A US nuclear-powered submarine even hit an “uncharted seamount” there".
"Apparently, “militarization” and “endangering freedom of navigation” are more accurate when used to describe the US’ behaviors" the ministry added.
On Monday Wang Wenbin, the ministry's spokesman had also said that China "has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait" and that "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".
Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Martin Meiners was cited by Bloomberg as saying "The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, and that includes transiting through the Taiwan Strait".
Taiwan's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said that the comments by China were a 'fallacy' and that "The Taiwan Strait is international waters, and the waters outside our territorial waters are subject to the 'freedom of the high seas' principle of international law".
She said, "We understand and support the U.S. freedom of navigation missions' contribution to promoting regional peace and stability".