China puts military on alert after US warships enter Taiwan

TEHRAN, Aug. 28 (MNA) – Beijing has reportedly slammed the US Navy’s “freedom of navigation” missions in the Taiwan Strait as provocations.

The Chinese military has been put on alert after US warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait, Shi Yi, spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), said in a statement on Sunday, Sputnik reported.

He said that the US Navy cruisers Chancellorsville and Antietam sailed through the Taiwan Strait on August 28th, getting everyone's attention.

“Units of the PLA Eastern Combat Command escorted the US cruisers, exercising full control over their activities. The command units remain on heightened alert to stop any provocations in a timely manner,” the statement pointed out.

Two US Navy warships entered the Taiwan Strait, 3 US officials told Reuters. This is the first such operation since heightened tension with China over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

"The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, on Saturday said US Navy cruisers Chancellorsville and Antietam were carrying out the operation which was still underway. Such operations usually take between eight and 12 hours to complete and are closely monitored by the Chinese military," according to TASS.

Tensions in the Taiwan Strait area rose sharply after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei from August 2 to 3. China's armed forces retaliated by conducting large-scale military drills with missile firing in six water areas around the island.

A delegation of US lawmakers arrived on August 14th for an unannounced two-day visit to Taiwan. The group included five members of Congress from both parties. Their arrival on the island drew sharp criticism from Beijing and provoked the start of another Chinese People's Liberation Army drill in the region.

The Chinese government repeatedly stated that the August 2-3 visit to Taipei by Pelosi, who is the third highest-ranking US politician, was a provocation that should be regarded as a "wrong signal to Taiwanese separatists." A day after this visit, Beijing introduced sanctions against the US House Speaker and her family, as well as froze several bilateral intergovernmental mechanisms of interaction with Washington. Additionally, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army launched military drills in the Taiwan Strait and around the island.

MP/PR

News Code 190731

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