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Warships and diplomatic crossing: tension escalates between China and the United States over the status of Taiwan

One of the highest officials of the Chinese Army on Saturday accused the Secretary of Defense of the United States, Lloyd Austin, of “distorting the facts” about the status of taiwanan island that China considers part of its territory, in the middle of a renewed tension and despite a call for dialogue as a way to reduce conflict risks.

The verbal clash coincided with the passage of two warships, from the United States and Canada, through the Taiwan Strait, in a joint mission in the delicate stretch of sea that separates Taipei from China.

“The US comments on Taiwan ignore the facts, distort the truth and are completely wrong,” said the deputy chief of staff of the country’s Central Military Commission, Jing Jianfeng, on the outskirts of the Security Forum of the Taiwan Talks. Shangri-La, the most important security forum in Asia, which is held in Singapore.

The general accused Austin of “trying to wriggle out of the ‘one China’ principle,” by which Beijing has claimed complete sovereignty over Taiwan for decades, “a sacred and inalienable part of Chinese territory,” the Europa news agency reported. Press.

Given the increase in tension in recent months, characterized by visits by US officials to the island, responded by China with maneuvers on the continent and approaches to the territory’s security line, the general indicated that his country “does not seek or conflict or confrontation”, but also warned that China “will not cower in the face of any act of coercion”, according to statements reproduced by the newspaper South China Morning Post.

Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu at the Singapore summit on Saturday. Photo: AP

The United States had proposed a formal meeting between Austin and his Chinese counterpart, Li Shangfu, at that forum in Singapore, but the Asian country did not accept the invitation.

Both leaders shook hands the night before and spoke briefly during the inauguration dinner of this summit, but the meeting did not go further, the AFP news agency reported.

call to dialogue

“The United States believes that open lines of communication with the People’s Republic of China are essential, especially between our defense and military leaders,” Austin said at Shangri-La.

“The more we talk, the more we can avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations that can lead to a crisis or conflict,” added the Pentagon leader.

“The right time to speak is now”, Austin remarked in a speech delivered at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Shangri-La Dialogue this Saturday in Singapore.  Photo: REUTERS

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Shangri-La Dialogue this Saturday in Singapore. Photo: REUTERS

Another member of the Chinese delegation, Colonel Zhao Xiaozhuo, said Beijing also considered maintaining lines of communication essential, but added that “the problem is for the US to stop provoking China’s security.”

The head of the Pentagon said he was “deeply concerned that (China) doesn’t want to engage more seriously in better crisis management mechanisms between the two militaries.”

military ships

He also reproached the Asian giant for “an alarming number of dangerous interceptions of aircraft from the United States and allied countries that were legally flying in international airspace.”

One such incident occurred last week when, according to the US military, a Chinese fighter performed “an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” near a US surveillance plane operating in the South China Sea.

The Asian country’s army argued that the US plane “entered” a military training area.

On Saturday, the US 7th Fleet announced that its destroyer “USS Chung-Hoon” and the Royal Canadian Navy’s “HMCS Montreal” were “conducting a routine transit through the Taiwan Strait June 3.”

In these waters “freedoms of navigation and overflight on the high seas apply in accordance with international law,” the US Navy said.

The transit of the ships through the area demonstrates “the commitment of the United States and our partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it added.

It is common to see US ships transit through the strait, but rarely do so together with ships from another country. The last time a joint mission was carried out in this area dates back to September 2022.

In a message on Twitter, Canada’s navy said the two countries were “partners [que] They operate for peace and security in the region”.

Source: Agencies


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