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UK warship makes uncommon transit by way of Taiwan Strait

TAIPEI: The Royal Navy mentioned a British warship was crusing by way of the Taiwan Strait on Monday (Sep 27), a transfer that challenges Beijing’s declare to the delicate waterway and marks a uncommon voyage by a non-US army vessel.

“After a busy interval working with companions and allies within the East China Sea, we at the moment are en route by way of the Taiwan Strait to go to Vietnam and the Vietnam Individuals’s Navy,” learn a tweet from the official account for HMS Richmond, a frigate deployed with Britain’s plane service strike group.

Native media mentioned it was the primary time a British warship had transited by way of the slender waterway separating Taiwan and mainland China.

The British navy survey ship HMS Enterprise transited by way of the strait in 2019. The UK’s defence ministry didn’t reply to a request for remark.

US warships repeatedly conduct “freedom of navigation” workout routines within the strait and set off offended responses from Beijing, which claims Taiwan and surrounding waters – and nearly the entire South China Sea.

The US and most different international locations view these areas as worldwide waters that needs to be open to all vessels.

China’s preliminary response to the British warship’s passage was muted on Monday.

“We hope the related international locations can do extra to construct mutual belief between international locations and uphold peace and safety within the area,” international ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying informed reporters.

Till lately, Washington was the primary world energy prepared to sail by way of the Taiwan Strait.

However a rising variety of US allies have transited the route as Beijing intensifies its army threats in direction of Taiwan and solidifies its management over the disputed South China Sea.

Canadian, French and Australian warships have all made voyages by way of the Taiwan Strait in recent times, sparking protests from China.

Taiwan’s defence minister Chiu Kuo-cheng confirmed to reporters {that a} international vessel had sailed by way of the waterway however didn’t state which nation it was from.

Taiwan’s 23 million individuals reside underneath fixed menace of invasion by authoritarian China, which has vowed to grab the island sooner or later — by power if essential.

Beijing has stepped up army, diplomatic and financial strain on Taiwan for the reason that election of President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, who views the island as “already unbiased”.

Final 12 months, Chinese language army jets made a file 380 incursions into Taiwan’s defence zone, and the variety of incursions for the primary eight months of this 12 months has already exceeded 400.

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