China lashes out at US and Canada for sending warships to Taiwan Strait as regional tensions rise

‘The United States and Canada colluded to provoke and stir up trouble,’ says the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command

Nathan Place
New York
Sunday 17 October 2021 15:58
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Biden and Xi discuss Taiwan amid spike in cross-strait tensions

China has reacted with fury after the United States and Canada sent warships to the Taiwan Strait.

“The United States and Canada colluded to provoke and stir up trouble ... seriously jeopardising peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said in a statement, Reuters reported.

Earlier this month, China sent about 150 military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ), inflaming tensions in the region. In response, the United States and Canada sent the guided missile destroyer USS Dewey and the frigate HMCS Winnipeg, respectively, to the Taiwan Strait on Thursday and Friday.

“Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” US military officials said.

On Sunday, Chinese officials denounced the mission.

“Taiwan is part of Chinese territory,” the Command said. “Theatre forces always maintain a high level of alert and resolutely counter all threats and provocations.”

The People’s Republic of China has long refused to recognise Taiwan, which has its own democratic government, as a separate country. The island broke off from the rest of the nation in 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communists won China’s 22-year civil war. Their enemies, Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists, retreated to Taiwan. Both sides claimed to be the rightful government of China.

Since the beginning of the Cold War, the US has offered its protection to the tiny island nation, which is separated from its enormous Communist neighbour by the Taiwan Strait.

Over the past year, China has repeatedly sent air force missions into the southwestern part of the ADIZ – a broad area that Taiwan monitors – causing alarm in Taipei and its Western allies. But the missions have not actually crossed into Taiwanese air space, and there has been no shooting.

The US Navy sends a warship to the Strait about once a month, and US allies like Canada and Britain sometimes send ships as well.

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