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Thursday, February 29, 2024

China Criticizes US ‘Provocation’ in Taiwan Strait, Vows Continued Drills

China strongly condemned the United States on Thursday for what it deemed as “trouble and provocation” following the passage of a U.S. Navy warship through the Taiwan Strait. This move, the first since Taiwan’s recent elections, has heightened tensions between the two nations. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the events, responses, and the potential implications.

China’s Critique

In a monthly briefing, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesperson Colonel Wu Qian accused the U.S. of causing disruptions near China’s borders. He emphasized that U.S. warships and planes have engaged in extensive activities in waters and airspace around China, labeling them as provocations.

US Navy’s Actions

Contrary to China’s claims, the U.S. Navy defended its actions, stating that the destroyer USS John Finn traversed a corridor in the Taiwan Strait beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state. The U.S. Navy’s assertion raises questions about the delicate balance in the region.

China’s Response

Colonel Wu defended China’s response to the U.S. warship’s passage, describing it as “justified, reasonable, professional, and restrained.” Furthermore, he announced that China’s military will continue organizing military operations in the Taiwan Strait regularly, foreseeing increased drills leading up to Taiwan President-elect William Lai’s inauguration in May.

Bilateral Dialogues

Amidst the tensions, questions arose about a potential meeting between the newly appointed Chinese Defence Minister Dong Jun and his U.S. counterpart. Colonel Wu expressed China’s openness to bilateral dialogues at all levels but refrained from confirming any specific meeting.

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International Relations

Philippines and Spratly Islands

Turning attention to the South China Sea, Colonel Wu accused the Philippines of violating China’s sovereignty and making provocations in the contested Spratly Islands. He claimed that Manila’s actions were in collusion with external powers, further escalating regional tensions.

India-China Border Dispute

On the India-China border dispute, Colonel Wu characterized border tensions as a historical issue rather than defining the entirety of China-India relations. He criticized New Delhi for linking the dispute to bilateral relations, deeming it “unwise and inappropriate.”

Chinese Investments and Middle East Conflict

Addressing recent reports, China denied providing any weapons or equipment to the Middle East conflict. This comes in response to allegations that Chinese-made weaponry was used by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

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