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U.K. Warship Makes Rare Transit via Taiwan Strait

U.K. Warship Makes Rare Transit via Taiwan Strait

Context:

  • The Royal Navy of British warship was sailing through the Taiwan Strait on Monday.

Key Details:

  • This move challenges Beijing’s claim to the sensitive waterway and marks a rare voyage by a non-U.S. military vessel.

  • It was the first time a British warship had transited through the narrow waterway separating Taiwan and mainland China.

  • The British Navy survey ship HMS Enterprise transited through the strait in 2019.

See the source image

Freedom of Navigation:

  • U.S. warships regularly conduct “freedom of navigation” exercises in the strait and trigger angry responses from Beijing, which claims Taiwan and surrounding waters — and almost all of the South China Sea.

  • The U.S. and most other countries view those areas as international waters that should be open to all vessels.

‘Evil intentions’:

  • China commented that this kind of behaviour harbours evil intentions and damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Military threats:

  • Until recently, Washington was the main global power willing to sail through the Taiwan Strait.

  • But a growing number of U.S. allies have transited the route as Beijing intensifies its military threats towards Taiwan and solidifies its control over the disputed South China Sea.

  • Canadian, French and Australian warships have all made voyages through the Taiwan Strait in recent years.

Taiwan v. China:

  • Taiwan’s 23 million people live under constant threat of invasion by authoritarian China, which has vowed to seize the island one day — by force if necessary.

  • Beijing has stepped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, who views the island as “already independent”.

Taiwan Strait:

  • The Taiwan Strait is a 180-kilometer (110 mi)-wide strait separating the island of Taiwan and continental Asia.

  • The strait is part of the South China Sea and connects to the East China Sea to the north.

  • Former names of the Taiwan Strait include the Formosa Strait or Strait of Formosa.

Source: The Hindu