(RightWing.org) – The People’s Republic of China (PRC) contends that the entirety of the South China Sea, from Vietnam eastward to the Philippines and sweeping as far south as Malaysia, is part of their sovereign territory. In the time since President Joe Biden has been in office, the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Air Force and Navy have become increasingly aggressive towards Taiwan (the Republic of China/ROC) and the ships of Western navies.
According to a press release from the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) dated June 3, the USS Chung-Hoon (an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer/DDG 93) and the Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Montréal (a Halifax-class frigate/FFH 366) were conducting a routine freedom of navigation voyage through the Taiwan Strait. These sea lanes are officially outside the territorial waters of any country, according to international law. Nonetheless, the US statement claims that “[d]uring the transit, PLA(N) LUYANG III DDG 132 (PRC LY 132) executed maneuvers in an unsafe manner in the vicinity of Chung-Hoon.”
The press release goes on to say that the Chinese warship got as close as 150 yards to the Chung-Hoon as it crossed its bow from the port (left) side in what is described as an unsafe manner, forcing the American ship to quickly decelerate to lessen the chance of a collision. The United States called this a flagrant violation of “the maritime ‘Rules of the Road'” established for ships traveling in international waters.
For its part, the PRC is pointing fingers at the United States, claiming our government and the Canadians “have been deliberately stirring up trouble and risks in the Taiwan Strait, maliciously undermining regional peace,” according to a statement from its Ministry of National Defense (MND). PRC Defense Minister General Li Shangfu, speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore over that weekend, stated the position of his government is that “Taiwan is China’s Taiwan [and resolving that question] is Chinese people’s own business….”
This is the second incident in the area in less than two weeks. On May 26, a PLA Air Force J-16 strike fighter performed a highly dangerous intercept maneuver near a United States Air Force (USAF) RC-135 reconnaissance plane in international airspace. An earlier USINDOPACOM press release on the matter said it was “an unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” that caused the American aircraft to fly through the J-16’s jet wash, where it was visibly shaken by the turbulence, as shown in a video taken from the cockpit.
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