National Security

China Declares Patrol Around Taiwan After Speaker Visit

(Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Beijing’s maritime security administration said Wednesday it would impose a three-day patrol of the waters surrounding Taiwan that could include arresting and boarding ships, Reuters reported.

The move comes after Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-Wen met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California on Wednesday and a congressional delegation touched down on the self-ruling island Thursday to support Taiwan in the midst of Chinese aggression, according to NBC News. A maritime force operating out of the Fujian province in southeastern China will transit waters on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to intercept and conduct “on site inspections of cargo ships and construction vessels, according to Reuters.

The patrol will “ensure the safety of vessel navigation and ensure the safe and orderly operation of key projects on water,” China’s Fujian maritime safety administration said in a statement on a widely used Chinese social media account. (RELATED: Xi Is Losing Control Of Chinese Military’s Harassment Tactics, US Navy Intel Official Says)

Taiwan’s Transport Ministry’s Maritime and Ports Bureau said late Wednesday it formally protested China’s move and instructed the targeted shipping operators to resist requests from Chinese patrol ships to board, and to contact the island’s coast guard for assistance, Reuters reported.

“If the mainland side insists on taking one-sided actions, it will create obstacles to normal exchanges between the two sides. We will be forced to take corresponding measures,” the bureau said, according to Reuters.

Taiwan also said Thursday it was monitoring Chinese military movements in and near its waters and airspace but did not anticipate a significant escalation, Reuters reported.

China deployed the Shandong aircraft carrier and accompanying naval vessels, including a frigate and support ship, near Taiwan on Wednesday. As of Thursday it was patrolling waters about 230 miles away from Taiwan’s east coast, Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said, according to Reuters.

“It is training but the timing is quite sensitive, and what it is up to we are still studying,” Chiu said. No aircraft had cleared the deck, he added.

A U.S. aircraft carrier is also transiting in the area, about twice as far away from Taiwan as the Chinese vessel, Chiu said.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army adheres to its duties and missions, maintains a high degree of alert at all times, resolutely defends national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely maintains peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” China’s defense ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters.

McCarthy had originally promised to visit Taiwan personally but was persuaded to hold a meeting with President Tsai Ing-Wen at the culmination of a tour across North America to avoid provoking China and generating a replay of Beijing’s show of aggression when McCarthy’s predecessor visited in 2022. Beijing claims the self-governing island as an absolute component of its sovereign territory and has threatened unspecified retaliation to Tsai’s meeting with McCarthy, Reuters reported.

Any arranged contact between U.S. officials and Tsai violates the “one China principle” and provisions in the three China-U.S. joint communiqués that affirmed Taiwan as a part of China, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said Tuesday.

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