The United States on Tuesday backed Taiwan’s claim that the strait separating the island from China is an international waterway. Reuters notes that this position represents a further rejection of Beijing’s claim to exercise its sovereignty over this strategic passage in the Far East.
The Taiwan Strait has been a frequent source of military tension since the defeated government of the Republic of China fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the Communists, who established the People’s Republic of China.
In recent years, American warships, and occasionally those of allied nations such as Britain and Canada, they sailed through the straitattracting the wrath of Beijing.
On Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry said that the country “has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait” and called a “false statement” when some countries call the Taiwan Strait “international waters.”
“The Taiwan Strait is an international waterway, which means that the Taiwan Strait is an area where freedoms at sea, including freedom of navigation and overflight, are guaranteed by international law,” he said in an email to Reuters, US State Department spokesman Ned Price, after a request to comment on the Chinese position.
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The world has a “permanent interest in maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and we believe this is essential to the security and prosperity of the wider Indo-Pacific region,” Price said.
The US official reiterated US concerns about “China’s aggressive rhetoric and coercive activity with regard to Taiwan” and said the United States “will continue to fly, navigate and operate where international law permits, and this includes transit through the Taiwan Strait ”.
Earlier on Tuesday, Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou called China’s position a “mistake.” The Taiwan Strait is an international waterway, and the Taiwanese government is supporting U.S. warships transiting it, Joanne Ou also told Reuters.
On Wednesday, Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-Chang said the strait was by no means “a great interior of China.” “China’s ambition to swallow Taiwan has never stopped and has not been hidden. The Taiwan Strait is a maritime area for free international navigation, “Su Tseng-Chang told reporters.
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The Chinese Taiwanese Bureau of Foreign Affairs said the Taipei government was “cooperating with foreign forces to amplify this issue.”
This “harms the interests of compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and betrays the interests of the Chinese nation – it is despicable,” said Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for the bureau in Beijing.
China has never given up using force to bring Taiwan under its control and considers the island an inherent part of Chinese territory.
Taiwan claims that China has no right to speak on its behalf or claim sovereignty, saying that only the Taiwanese people can decide their own future and that the People’s Republic of China has never controlled any part of the island.
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Editor: Marco Badea
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