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US Destroyer Enters Taiwan Strait As Tensions Escalate Between Taiwan And China

January 6, 2023
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US Navy Destroyer

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Amid continued shows of force by the PLA and rising tensions between China and Taiwan, the U.S. sent another destroyer through the Strait of Taiwan as a show of support for the democratic island.

On Thursday, the Navy's 7th Fleet announced that the guided-missile destroyer Chung-Hoon had passed through the Strait as part of the Fleet's "commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific."

The Fleet's Public Affairs office announced that "The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit Jan. 5 (local time) through waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law."

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In a moment of hypocrisy, China's Foreign Ministry accused the Pentagon last month of creating new tensions in the Taiwan Strait with its sail-throughs. Meanwhile, the Chinese PLA has breached the Taiwan Straight median line numerous times with warships and nuclear-capable bombers. China's shows of force increased after Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in August - a move China perceived as a provocation.

The incursions into Taiwan's air defense zone by Chinese fighter jets almost doubled in 2022 compared to the number of incursions the previous year. According to Newsweek, Chinese military aircraft were detected inside Taiwan's air defense zone 1,737 times in 2022, while only 972 instances of Chinese aircraft breaching the zone occurred in the previous 12 months.

While China continues to intimidate Taiwan and the U.S. persists with sail-throughs, newly appointed Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang has begun working to soften U.S.-China relations.

Qin published an op-ed in the Washington Post on Wednesday, after taking over the Foreign Minister position on Friday, and said of the competition between the U.S. and China, "The world is wide enough for China and the US to both develop and prosper."

Qin continued to push for the U.S. and China to maintain healthy relations stating that "decoupling serves no one's interest."

"Improving relations takes work by both sides," Qin added.

While Qin called for "stability" in his op-ed, the U.S. is going ahead with official trade delegation talks with Taiwan next week, despite China's direct opposition to the meeting. The talks were arranged in June and are set to take place in Taiwan, with President Biden making a rare trip to the island.

           

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