The US Navy said that one of its destroyers on Friday sailed close to the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) in the South China Sea, asserting international freedom of navigation rights in the contested waters.
The USS Wayne E. Meyer guided-missile destroyer passed through the area of the Paracels east of Vietnam and South of China’s Hainan Island without requesting permission from Taipei, Beijing or Hanoi, all three of which claim ownership of the archipelago.
“USS Wayne E. Meyer challenged the restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam and also contested China’s claim to straight baselines enclosing the Paracel Islands,” said Commander Reann Mommsen, spokeswoman for the US Seventh Fleet based in Japan.
“With these baselines, China has attempted to claim more internal waters, territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf than it is entitled under international law,” Mommsen said.
China has laid claim to nearly all of the South China Sea and has built numerous military outposts on the small islands and atolls of the region, angering other claimants Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
In the past few months, the US military has stepped up its “freedom of navigation operations” in the region, irking Beijing, but not sparking any direct confrontation.
China has effectively drawn a property line around the whole of the Paracels archipelago to claim the entire territory.
However, the US says that does not accord with international law on archipelagos and territorial seas.
The freedom of navigation operations “demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows — regardless of the location of excessive maritime claims and regardless of current events,” Mommsen said.
BACK TO NORMAL? The move would be part of a gradual easing of curbs monitored by the CECC, which would retain the quarantine mandate if case numbers rise again The Cabinet yesterday approved a plan to next month reopen Taiwan’s borders to all visitors and lift the quarantine mandate for arrivals, provided the nation’s COVID-19 situation does not escalate. The changes are likely to take effect on Oct. 13 as part of a phased easing of border controls that is to start on Thursday next week when a negative polymerase chain reaction test result would no longer be needed, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Arriving travelers would instead be given four rapid antigen home test kits, Lo said. The three-day quarantine requirement followed by four days of mandatory
‘NO SURRENDER’: A blockade or outlying island seizure would be an act of war, and China’s drills last month have emboldened Taipei in its response plans, an official said The Republic of China Army Command Headquarters has agreed to purchase 5,000 Kestrel close-range anti-armor missiles worth NT$400 million (US$12.63 million) from the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, according to the military’s latest arms purchase bid notice. The army asked the institute to complete the order within 13 months, a military source said on condition of anonymity. Kestrel missiles are designed to penetrate armored vehicles and are used in anti-surface warfare, as they feature optical sights and night vision, and can be operated in all weather conditions. The missile has a 400m range, or a 150m range when used for breaching brick
IF THE CHIPS ARE DOWN: The US secretary of state warned that a disruption to the supply of Taiwanese semiconductors would play havoc with the global economy If Taiwan were attacked, the global economy would face devastation, as that is where most of the world’s semiconductors are produced, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday. In an interview that aired on the 60 Minutes television program, Blinken was asked whether instability across the Taiwan Strait would be felt around the world. Blinken said that China has been increasingly aggressive against Taiwan, posing a threat to peace and stability in the region, while economically the world would feel the effects of such aggression. Blinken was interviewed for the program after meeting with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi
‘ABSURD’: UN Resolution 2758 expelled the Chiang Kai-Shek government without mentioning Taipei, something the Chinese minister did not acknowledge, Taipei said Taiwan yesterday criticized Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) for “intentionally misinterpreting” a 1971 UN resolution to misrepresent Taiwan’s status to the global community. In his address on Saturday to the UN General Assembly, Wang cited Resolution 2758 as a basis for Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. He said that Beijing considers Taiwan an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times.” “Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait... Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said. General Assembly Resolution 2758