China deploys fleet near Taiwan shortly before Tsai’s meeting with McCarthy
A Chinese Navy fleet led by the aircraft carrier Shandong sailed near Taiwan en route to. the eastern Pacific, where it is scheduled for maneuvers, official media reported.
The passage of the ships was recorded about 400 kilometers south of the island on Wednesday, hours before Taiwanese PresidentTsai Ing-wen met in Los Angeles with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a meeting strongly rejected by China.
According to a statement from the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense, the Shandong was detected as it passed through the Bashi Channel – a stretch separating Taiwan from the Philippines – in transit to the eastern Pacific, where it was scheduled on Wednesday to begin its first long-range maneuvers.
The Shandong is the second aircraft carrier China’s second aircraft carrier-the first of domestic manufacture-and has been in service since 2022.
Aircraft carrier deployed
The military portfolio also denounced the “special patrolling operation” announced this week by the Chinese Army in the waters of the Formosa Strait, which it described as “attempts to intimidate Taiwan and destabilize regional peace and the status quo, behavior unbecoming of a modern and responsible country,” CNA reported.
It is not known at this time whether the deployment of the aircraft carrier is part of that operation, which began early Wednesday and whose duration has also not been specified.
Analysts quoted by the official Chinese newspaper. Global Times considered that the Shandong’s crossing “proves that the People’s Liberation Army’s second carrier. is prepared for offshore operations and to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.”
According to expert Zhang Xuefeng, this type of exercise is to be expected, as the aircraft carrier can only test its full capabilities of maneuvering with fleets in the open sea.
Another source who asked not to be identified stated that the waters of the eastern Pacific east of Taiwan and south of Japan are a “vital strategic position.” to encircle the island and prevent foreign forces from interfering militarily in the Taiwan question.
China condemns Tsai’s stopover in Los Angeles.
China’s military deployment comes amid new tensions between Washington and Beijing over Tsai’s stopover in the United States on the occasion of her trip to Central America. and her meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday.
China condemned such escalation and activities, accused Washington of “collusion” with the island and advanced that it will respond with “resolute and effective measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
For its part, the U.S. asked the Asian country “not to overreact” to the meeting and insisted that the passage of the Taiwanese president through its territory is “a stopover” on her trip to Central America.according to White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.
Taiwan, a rebellious province
The situation is reminiscent of what happened last August, when a visit to Taiwan by then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi infuriated Beijing, which called her “farce” and “deplorable betrayal.”
In response, China imposed sanctions on Pelosi, suspended dialogue with the U.S. in several important areas, and deployed military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait. of an intensity unprecedented in decades.
The island is one of the major sources of conflict between China and the United States, mainly because Washington is the main Taiwan’s arms supplier and would be its major military ally in the event of war with China.
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which it considers to be a rebel province since the Kuomintang nationalists retreated there in 1949 after losing the civil war against the Communist army.