《TAIPEI TIMES》 China shadows US patrol plane through Strait
ALL CLEAR: While China’s military called the flight ‘public hype,’ the Ministry of National Defense said it was normal and that they monitored its passage
/ Reuters and AFP
A US Navy patrol aircraft yesterday flew through the Taiwan Strait, the US military said, describing the mission as a demonstration of its commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, while China’s military said it followed and monitored the plane.
The US 7th Fleet said the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance plane, which is also used for anti-submarine missions, flew over the Strait in international airspace.
“The aircraft’s transit of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows,” it said in a statement.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s （PLA） Eastern Theater Command described the flight as “public hype,” adding that it had sent fighters to monitor and warn the US plane and “deal with it in accordance with the law and regulations.”
“Troops in the theater are always on high alert and will resolutely defend national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability,” it said in a statement.
In Taipei, the Ministry of National Defense said it monitored the US aircraft as it flew south through the Strait, and described the situation as “normal.”
The last time the US Navy announced a Poseidon had flown through the Strait, in October, China said it had sent fighter jets to monitor and warn the aircraft.
The passage came as the US’ and China’s top diplomats were discussing the Israel-Hamas conflict, Washington and Beijing said, with both sides agreeing on the need to de-escalate the war.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “reiterated the imperative of all parties working to prevent the conflict from spreading,” the US Department of State said.
Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi （王毅） said that in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, “the top priority is to cease fire and end the war as soon as possible.”
While the two sides also agreed to build on “progress made on key issues” during a summit between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping （習近平） last month in California, Wang warned Blinken against US support for Taiwan.
He “emphasized China’s solemn stance on the Taiwan issue, demanding that the United States does not interfere in China’s internal affairs,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.