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U.S. Steps Up Military Exercises in Taiwan Strait amid Fears of Chinese Invasion

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The US Navy has conducted a series of military exercises in the Indo-Pacific. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn “conducted a routine transit through the Taiwan Strait on March 10, 2021, in accordance with international law.”

The exercises follow a statement by Admiral Philip S. Davidson, commander of the U.S. Navy in the Indo-Pacific region, who expressed concern about the advance of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the possible invasion of Taiwan in 2027.

This is the third time the U.S. Navy has crossed the strait during the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration. The vessel sailed through the strait from north to south. The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense stated that during the ship’s journey south through the strait, “the Army used joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to monitor movements at sea and in the air.”

The destroyer USS John Finn (DDG 113) in the Taiwan Strait on March 10, 2021.
(US Navy)

Military exercises by the United States or any other country are rejected by Beijing, insofar as it considers these waters to be Chinese sovereignty. For its part, by declaring that the navigation of American vessels is in accordance with international law, America dismisses Chinese sovereignty over the strait, which gives Taipei a certain level of independence.

“The ship’s transit through the Strait demonstrates America’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, the U.S. military will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever permitted by international law,” said the Japan-based Seventh Fleet press office.

Taiwan - El American
Taiwanese map in the inauguration of a joint monument with the Japanese government. (EFE)

China’s threat against Taiwan

During a press conference at the opening of the National People’s Congress, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made three points regarding Taipei. He asserted that there is only “one China,” and that the island is “an inalienable part of Chinese territory,” and China had the ability to thwart any form of “secessionist acts of Taiwan independence.”

Wang Yi threatened the United States, saying it is an “insurmountable red line” and added that the CCP has “no room for compromise on the Taiwan issue and no room for concessions.”

For his part, in the hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Admiral Davidson assured that the Chinese invasion of the island would take place in the next decade, “around 2027.”

Taiwan’s answer against China

While the country has not declared its independence, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou pointed out that the island has never been part of the People’s Republic of China.

Ou mentioned a key point in the country’s democracy and that is the strong aversion of Taiwanese citizens towards the Chinese government. It is worth noting that around 70 % of the citizens identify themselves as Taiwanese and most of them view positively the island’s closeness to the United States.

Taipei’s stance of “safeguarding national sovereignty, democracy and freedom has always been consistent.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged China to respect the will of Taiwanese citizens and open spaces for cooperation between the two countries.

Military exercises by the United States and its allies in the Indo-Pacific, and particularly in the Taiwan Strait, are a sign of the application of international law, which governs stability and peace in the region.

Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán

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