A representative of the People’s Republic of China stated on Thursday that the United States is “seriously undermining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” after a US Navy destroyer sailed into the waters amid escalating tensions between Beijing and Taipei.
Senior colonel Zhang Chunhui, spokesman of the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command, said on Thursday in a statement that the Chinese military followed and monitored the USS Barry when the destroyer made what the US Navy described as a “routine crossing across the Taiwan Strait” on Wednesday, according to Chinese media outlet CGTN.
Zhang said the United States should stop its provocative words and actions in the Taiwan Strait, adding that the Chinese military will “resolutely defend the country’s territorial integrity and maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
On Wednesday, the United States announced that a US destroyer had crossed the Taiwan Strait on a “routine mission”,
US 7th Fleet spokeswoman Captain Ryan Momsen said the guided missile destroyer USS Barry carried out a “routine mission in the Taiwan Strait on October 14, in accordance with international law.”
“The ship’s crossing of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States to the free and open Indian and Pacific Ocean region,” she said in a statement.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has on Tuesday called on the People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps to “focus on preparing for war” during a visit to a military base in southern China.
Xi’s call for combat readiness came as tensions escalated in the past few months between China and the breakaway province of Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be a rogue province under the name Chinese Taipei.
Although the United States does not officially recognise Chinese Taipei as an independent country, it maintains relations with the authorities on the island as part of its anti-Chinese strategy.