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US and Canadian warships pass through Taiwan Strait after Biden vows to protect the island

US Navy spokesman Lieutenant Mark Langford said a US Navy ship, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Higgins, had conducted a “routine transit through the Taiwan Straits”. ” on Tuesday.

The US vessel made the transit “in cooperation with the Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class destroyer HMCS Vancouver,” Langford said.

The two ships were “transiting through a corridor in a strait beyond the territorial sea of ​​any coastal state,” Lieutenant Langford said. The transit “demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” added Lt Col Langford.

Maybe Biden meant it on Taiwan
Although the US calls the process “habitual”, it comes after Biden added fuel to tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan, telling CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he will use the US military to defend the island if China tries to invade.

The strait is a 110-mile (180 km) stretch of water separating the self-governing democratic island of Taiwan from mainland China.

Beijing claims Taiwan – an island of 23 million people – despite the fact that China’s ruling Communist Party has never controlled it. Beijing also claims sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the waters of the Taiwan Strait in accordance with Chinese law and the interpretation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

However, the US Navy says most of the strait lies within international waters, citing UNCLOS’s definition of territorial sea as extending 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) from a country’s coastline. The US regularly sends its warships through the strait, having made dozens of such voyages in recent years.

During the CBS interview, Biden was asked if “US forces, American men and women, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.”

“Yes,” replied the US President.

The comments echoed Biden’s earlier pledge to defend Taiwan, though on Sunday he made it clear that “American men and women” would be involved in the effort.

Defense Canada’s Director of Media Relations Daniel Le Bouthillier confirmed Canada joined the transit on Tuesday.

“After port visits in Jakarta, Indonesia and Manila, Philippines, HMCS Vancouver transited the Taiwan Strait with the USS Higgins, as it was the most direct maritime route. with international law, including the high seas, Le Bouthillier told CNN.

The US military confirmed that Chinese aircraft and ships were present in “various areas” during the transit of the US and Canadian ships, but that “all interactions with foreign military forces during This process is in line with international standards and practices and does not affect operations. Langford said.

Beijing quickly condemned Biden’s weekend comments and repeated warnings that China has “the option to take all necessary measures” to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

“The US statement seriously violates the one China principle and the provisions of the US-China joint communique. It is also a serious violation of the US side’s important commitment not to support Taiwan independence. “, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said at a press conference on Monday.

“It sent a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces demanding independence for Taiwan. China expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition and made serious expressions to the US side. “, added Mao.

The US and Canadian warships last passed through the strait at the same time 11 months ago, when the destroyer USS Dewey and the frigate HMCS Winnipeg made the voyage.

After that flight, Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army, said in a written statement that “the US and Canada carried out provocative actions.” evil nature and causing trouble during the protests, seriously jeopardizing peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has said that “reunification” between China and Taiwan is inevitable and refuses to rule out the use of force. Tensions between Beijing and Taipei are at their highest in recent decades, with the Chinese military holding major exercises near the island.

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