Beijing, Apr 27 (EFE).- The Chinese army criticized Wednesday the passage of the United States destroyer USS Sampson through the Taiwan Strait a day earlier.
“The US has been frequently carrying out provocative acts to send wrong signals to ‘Taiwan Independence’ forces, deliberately undermining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China is firmly opposed to this,” Colonel Shi Yi, spokesperson for the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said in a statement.
“The troops of the PLA Eastern Theatre Command always stay on high alert to resolutely defend China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.
In a statement on its website on Tuesday, the US Navy said that “guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit April 26 (local time) through international waters in accordance with international law.”
“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it added.
“The US Navy flies, sails and operates wherever international law allows,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, in a statement on Wednesday, the Taiwanese defense ministry said that two Chinese fighter jets had entered Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) a day earlier.
The ministry added that radio warnings had been issued and air defense missile systems deployed to monitor the activity until the planes left Taiwan’s ADIZ.
The Taiwanese ADIZ is not defined in any international treaty nor regulated by any international body but it covers a large area including parts of China.
Taiwan has been self-ruled since 1949 and regards itself as a sovereign entity although China considers it a rebel province and seeks reunification for which it has not ruled out the use of force.
The island is also one of the main sources of conflict between China and the US, mainly because Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and would be its biggest military ally in the event of a war with the Asian giant.
The US approved the so-called Taiwan Relations Act in 1979 after breaking its official diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing.
The Act establishes that the US will help Taiwan in defense matters. EFE