USS Milius transited through corridor in Taiwan Strait that ‘is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State,’ says US military
China on Monday called a US warship’s voyage through the Taiwan Strait a “hyped up” transit.
According to US Army’s 7th Fleet, its Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit on Sunday through waters “where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law.”
“The ship transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state,” the fleet deployed in Asia-Pacific said in a statement on Monday.
In response, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command said it closely followed and monitored the warship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait.
“The US Navy hyped up the transit of a USS Milius guided-missile destroyer through the Taiwan Strait,” said Senior Col. Shi Yi, spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command.
On April 10, the same warship had sailed in the South China Sea, triggering joint flights of jets and voyages of naval frigates by Beijing “to track and monitor” the US Navy destroyer.
The voyage of the US warship through the Taiwan Strait comes days after China held large-scale exercises around Taiwan, an island nation.
It also coincides with Beijing’s warning that “rocket debris may end up” near Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry on Monday confirmed that it detected “some debris falling into the northern waters of Taiwan.”
Using a home-built Long March 4B rocket, Beijing launched its Fengyun-3G satellite into space on Sunday morning which is aimed to measure precipitation, “especially heavy rainfalls during catastrophic weather in global regions of low- and mid-latitude.”
Taiwan said the flight path of the satellite passed “over our northern airspace.”
China had temporarily banned the passage of any vessel, while air traffic was also closed on Sunday morning in the northern maritime areas near Taiwan.
On Monday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 18 PLA aircraft and four naval vessels were detected around Taiwan. Four of the Chinese jets crossed the air defense identification zone, it added.
Tensions between Washington and Beijing have persisted as the US has accelerated forming coalitions in the wider Asia-Pacific region to counter China’s expanding military and economic influence.
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