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Passage of US warships monitored

By ZHANG YI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-08-29 07:41
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Provocative transit through Taiwan Straits 'not surprising', expert says

The Eastern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army is on high alert and remains ready to thwart any provocation, Senior Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesman for the theater command, said in a statement on Sunday.

The comments came after two United States warships sailed through the Taiwan Straits. The US cruisers Chancellorsville and Antietam sailed through the Taiwan Straits on Sunday, with the US publicly hyping the trip, Shi said.

He said that the theater command has tracked and monitored the passage of the ships and has everything under control.

The transit was the first such operation by the US Navy since the PLA conducted military drills around Taiwan in response to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this month, despite strong opposition from the Chinese mainland.

Yuan Zheng, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of American Studies, said that the passage of the warships through the Straits was not surprising, as it has happened roughly once a month since the Joe Biden administration took office.

The US ships didn't make passage during the PLA's large-scale military drills in the Straits to avoid a direct military confrontation with the mainland that might further escalate tensions across the Straits, Yuan said.

"But it could not show weakness and the passage was bound to happen at the end of the month," he said, adding that by making the passage on Sunday, the US showed that it will not leave the Taiwan question alone.

The transit continued to send signals of support to "Taiwan independence" separatist forces and also carried an implied provocation of the mainland, Yuan said.

He said this was hegemonic behavior, despite the US branding its actions as maintaining so-called regional peace and stability, as it tried to maintain the status of "one China, one Taiwan" indefinitely.

The PLA monitored the US military movements in the Taiwan Straits and acted accordingly, Yuan said, adding that "the effect of such provocation is limited and will not shake the determination of the mainland to safeguard national sovereignty and complete national reunification".

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