A Chinese aircraft carrier group, led by the aircraft carrier Shangdong, sailed through the Strait of Taiwan on Wednesday, just two days after Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded talks with Chinese officials.
The Shangdong, one of three carriers in the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fleet, kept to the western portion of the strait and the Taiwan ministry announced it had mobilized “appropriate force” to monitor the situation, Reuters reported. Additionally, 19 Chinese aircraft, including a Y-8 electronic warfare plane, were spotted south-west of Taiwan on Tuesday, the South China Morning Post reported. This joint maneuver occurred days after Blinken left bilateral talks reaffirming America’s opposition to an independent Taiwan and hours after President Biden called President Xi a “dictator.” (Related: ‘Open Political Provocation’: Biden Trades Blows With China After ‘Dictators’ Comment)
China responded to President Biden’s comment, with Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning stating, “The relevant remarks by the US side are extremely ridiculous and irresponsible, they seriously violate basic facts, diplomatic protocol and China’s political dignity,” the South China Morning Post reported.
China has routinely conducted military operations around the island of Taiwan in response to American diplomatic missions. The Shangdong sailed through the strait just hours before US-China talks in March 2022, Reuters reported. The carrier has sailed through the strait three times since 2022.
It is still unclear whether these events will affect the White House’s tentative plan to encourage an in-person meeting between President Biden and President Xi, which CNN reported on in early June.