Chinese military put on ‘high alert’
A US warplane’s recent flight through the Taiwan Strait is a threat to the stability of the region, a Chinese army spokesman has stated, as cited by China Daily on Monday.
The P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine patrol and reconnaissance aircraft flew through the strait separating mainland China and the self-governed island of Taiwan on Monday. A Chinese Su-27 took off and monitored the American spy plane along its path. Senior Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesman for the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) Eastern Theater Command, said this maneuver “deliberately damaged the regional situation and jeopardized peace and stability” in the region. He added that the Chinese military was “on high alert to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The US forces in the region acknowledged the maneuver. “The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows including within the Taiwan Strait,” the 7th Fleet Command said in a statement.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense confirmed that they knew of the P-8A’s flight in a short official statement on the same day, calling the situation “normal.”
Back in June 2022, the US sent a P-8A into the Taiwan strait soon after Beijing deployed 29 aircraft into Taiwan’s self-declared air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Back then, Shi similarly accused the US and Taiwan of “hyping” the maneuver up and testing China’s determination by sending American warships through the straits. Taiwanese foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou argued that the waterway was part of international waters.
In response to the US spy plane flythrough, Beijing held their own military exercises in August.
China-US relations are experiencing increased levels of tension due to the ‘spy balloon’ scandal. A Chinese high-altitude balloon crossed over the continental US in late January and early February. Beijing assured it was a weather aircraft veering off course, while the Pentagon claimed it was part of a vast surveillance network of spy airships and shot it down. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled his planned trip to China, while Beijing accused Washington of “hysteria” and an “overreaction.”