The US Navy yesterday said that one of its P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft transited the Taiwan Strait, as the White House mulls linking aid to Taiwan with that for Israel and Ukraine.
“By operating within the Taiwan Strait in accordance with international law, the United States upholds the navigational rights and freedoms of all nations,” the US Navy said in a statement.
The transit demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, it added.
The Ministry of National Defense said the US aircraft had flown north through the Taiwan Strait and stuck to the median line.
Taiwan’s forces kept watch and the situation was “as normal,” it added.
China’s military described the flight as “public hype,” adding that it had sent fighters to monitor and warn the US plane.
In a statement, it said it “remains on high alert at all times to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and regional peace and stability.”
The US last announced a Poseidon mission through the Strait in July.
Meanwhile, an unnamed US official said that the White House has been weighing whether to make a request to the US Congress that would lump funding for Israel with that of Taiwan and Ukraine to improve the chances of gaining passage of assistance for Ukraine’s fight to repel Russian invaders.
Some US Republican lawmakers on Wednesday said they would resist any funding request from US President Joe Biden that combined military aid for Israel and Ukraine, amid resistance from some Republicans to further assistance for Kyiv.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a news briefing on Wednesday that parameters for the administration’s additional funding request to Congress had not been finalized.
Separately, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Jedidiah Royal said he was “very confident” that the US could manage multiple contingencies, in response to concerns about thinning resources if a conflict were to also break out in the Taiwan Strait.
The US would be able through its force posture and resource management to manage any number of possibilities, he told the Global Taiwan Institute’s annual symposium in Washington on Wednesday.
“I would encourage you to fully take on board how much work and energy we’re putting into making sure we’re prepared for every situation,” Royal said.
“If the United States does engage itself, I can assure you that we will be victorious in that regard,” he said.
Conflict in the Taiwan Strait of any kind is “neither imminent nor inevitable,” but Washington wants to make sure it is taking the possibility seriously and preparing “across the board,” he added.
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