China’s “provocative” move in the Taiwan Strait before the Biden-Xi call
China’s “provocative” move in the Taiwan Strait before the Biden-Xi call

China’s “provocative” move in the Taiwan Strait before the Biden-Xi call

China-Taiwan conflict: China claims that democratically governed Taiwan is its own territory.

Taipei:

China sailed its aircraft carrier Shandong through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Friday, overshadowed by a US destroyer, a source with direct knowledge of the case told Reuters, just hours before the Chinese and US presidents were due to speak.

China claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and over the past two years has stepped up its military activity near the island to assert its sovereignty claims, which has alarmed Taipei and Washington.

The source, who was not authorized to speak to the media and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Shandong sailed close to the Taiwan-controlled island of Kinmen, which is directly opposite the Chinese city of Xiamen, and was overshadowed by a US warship.

“Around 10.30am, CV-17 appeared about 30 nautical miles southwest of Kinmen and was photographed by a passenger on a civilian plane,” the source said, referring to Shandong’s official service number.

The USS Ralph Johnson, an Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer, shadowed the carrier, which had no aircraft on its deck, and sailed north through the strait, the source added.

Taiwan also sent warships to keep an eye on the situation, the source said.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry declined to comment.

The Chinese Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Navy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The voyage took place about 12 hours before US President Joe Biden is due to speak to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

The source described the timing of Shandong’s movement as close to this call as “provocative”.

China says Taiwan is the most sensitive and important issue in its relations with the United States. Washington has no formal diplomatic ties with Taipei, but is Taiwan’s main international supporter and arms supplier.

Shandong is China’s newest aircraft carrier, launched in 2019.

China’s only other carrier, Liaoning, is mostly used for training purposes.

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