US says Taiwan Strait flight shows commitment to open Indo-Pacific
TAIPEI — A U.S. Navy aircraft’s flight through the Taiwan Strait last week demonstrated a U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, the U.S. military said on Tuesday, after China complained it endangered peace and stability.
China said it had sent aircraft to monitor and warn the P-8A anti-submarine aircraft as it flew over the sensitive waterway on Friday.
“U.S Navy vessels and aircraft routinely interact with foreign warships and aircraft while operating throughout the region,” the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.
“All interactions with foreign military forces during the transit were consistent with international norms and did not impact the operation,” it said.
“The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows including within the Taiwan Strait. The aircraft’s transit of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The fly-through came after Taiwan scrambled fighters twice last week to warn away two large-scale incursions by China’s air force into Taiwan’s air defence zone.
The Taiwan Strait has seen frequent military tension since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the communists, who established the People’s Republic of China.
This month, China said it “has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait” and called it “a false claim when certain countries call the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters'”.
Both the United States and Taiwan have rebuffed that, saying they do consider it international waters.
In recent years, U.S. warships, and on occasion those from allied nations such as Britain and Canada, have sailed through the strait, drawing China’s anger.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.