Nobody is playing games when it comes to China and Taiwan. China has been eyeballing the island nation as a piece of land that should fall under its auspices and they’ve had little to no problem letting it be known.
Tensions in the South China Sea relaxed a tad when the U.S. Navy and Taiwan’s Navy recently joined forces as a display of power. The respective nations sent warships into the Taiwan Strait where the pins and needles have been the sharpest.
The U.S. Navy made its appearance with the guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin. As the vessel maneuvered through the channel on what was said to be a routine mission, Bejing rebuked the U.S., claiming to have shadowed the ship with one of their own.
China, never wishing to be outdone, ordered their naval strike group into the area, led by their newest aircraft carrier, the Shandong. In turn, Taiwan responded by sending out six warships and eight military aircraft fighters to hospitably greet the Chinese ensemble.
The U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin on Saturday sailed through the channel on a routine mission that drew a quick rebuke from Beijing who claims to have shadowed the American warship. China on Sunday then dispatched a naval strike group featuring its new aircraft carrier, the Shandong, prompting Taiwan to send six warships and eight military aircraft to monitor the Chinese ships.
“That’s a lot of maneuvering in a small space in a short amount of time,” a Pentagon official said. “Everyone has been very professional, but they are making their views clearly known.”
Beijing and Taipei being at odds over Taiwan is nothing new. It goes back to 1949 when Mao Tse Tung’s communist forces were fighting for control of China against Chiang-kai Shek’s nationalists.
The nationalist’s ending up fleeing to the island of Formosa, which is now Taiwan. On paper only, The Communist Party of China claims Taiwan belongs to them, but it goes no further. Taiwan is totally independent.
Beijing hasn’t been very pleased with the U.S. as of late for increasing its support of Taiwan. New arms sales and recent visits to Taiwan by U.S. military personnel have them spitting dragon fire. The Chinese are not thrilled in the least that Taiwan has been strengthening their defense forces.
This is by no means the first time the U.S. Navy has sailed through the Taiwan Strait. They’ve conducted numerous freedom-of-navigation exercises in the past, each one irking China a little bit more. China claims were just egging them on and trying to provoke them.
Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, a spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command issued this statement. “Recently, U.S. warships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait from time to time. They have deliberately raised the heat of the Taiwan issue … [and] sent flirtatious glances to Taiwan’s independence forces, severely jeopardizing peace and stability.”
The U.S. Navy countered by saying, “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows.”
China, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, all have a partial claim to the South China Sea but the real issue for China lies with the Taiwan Strait which is owned by Taiwan. The only way for China to gain control of the strait would be to gain control of Taiwan, which is not going to happen. Ever.