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US and Canadian warships made their way through the Taiwan Strait as Biden reiterates pledge to Taiwan

Tuesday witnessed US and Canadian warships voyage into the Taiwan Strait
Tuesday witnessed US and Canadian warships voyage into the Taiwan Strait

Image source: ABC News

US and Canadian warships passed through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday after US President Joe Biden said he would defend Taiwan.

The defensive aid comes as a precaution in case of an attack from China.

The warships

US Navy spokesman Lt. Mark Langford issued a statement saying the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins made a “routine transit through the Taiwan Strait” on Tuesday.

The US Navy ship transited alongside the Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Vancouver.

According to Lt. Langford, the two ships passed through a corridor in the strait beyond the territorial sea of a coastal state.

The transit is intended to demonstrate the commitment of the United States and its allies and partners to a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The trip marks the second time in more than three weeks that a U.S. Navy warship has made the trip, as cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville traveled on Aug. 28.

International tensions

When US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan early last month, Chinese military ships and submarines began to proliferate.

Although the transit is “routine”, it came after Biden fueled tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan.

Speaking on CBS 60 Minutes last Sunday, he said he would deploy US troops to defend the island in the event of a Chinese invasion.

Beijing has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan, although the ruling Communist Party has never controlled the island.

They also claim sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction over the waters of the strait under Chinese law.

But the US Navy says much of the strait is in international waters, citing a United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) definition of territorial waters extending 12 nautical miles from the coast of a country.

The United States has made several transits and sent warships through the strait in recent years.

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60 minutes

During the 60 Minutes interview, Biden was asked if US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, to which he said yes.

His comments reiterated a promise he had previously made to defend Taiwan. On Sunday, however, Biden stressed that American men and women would be involved in the effort.

Canadian help

Daniel Le Bouthillier, Canada’s chief of media relations, confirmed that Canada joined the transit on Tuesday.

“Following port visits in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Manila, Philippines, HMCS Vancouver sailed through the Taiwan Strait along with the USS Higgins, as this was the most direct navigational route,” said Le Bouthillier.

“This sail was done in full accordance with international law, including high seas navigation rights as outlined in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

According to the US military, Chinese planes and ships were present during the passage of US and Canadian warships.

However, Lieutenant Langford noted that interactions with foreign forces were consistent with international standards and practices.

Read also: Inflation will be under control, according to President Joe Biden

China responds

As news of Biden’s comments spread, Beijing reiterated its warning that China will take all necessary steps to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

At a briefing on Monday, Mao Ning, the spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, released a statement, saying:

“The US remarks seriously violate the one-China principle and the provisions of the three US-China joint communiques.”

“It is also a serious violation of the important commitment made by the US side not to support Taiwan independence,” she added.

“It sent a serious wrong signal to the separatist forces of Taiwan independence.”

“China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition and has made serious representation to the US side.”

The last time American and Canadian warships crossed the strait together was eleven months ago, when the destroyer USS Dewey and frigate HMCS Winnipeg made the voyage.

After that trip, Senior Col. Shi Yi, the spokesman for the Eastern theater command of the Popular Liberation Army, wrote a declaration.

He says that the United States and Canada have made “provocations with odious nature” and have caused problems that have seriously endangered peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

The Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, said that the “reunification” between China and Taiwan is inevitable and he refused to exclude the use of violence.

The tensions between Beijing and Taipei have been elevated in recent decades, and the Chinese army has conducted large military exercises near the island.


US and Canadian warships sail through Taiwan Strait after Biden vows to defend island

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