PLA Monitors US Warship in Taiwan Straits, 'Displays Control Over Region'

By Liu Xuanzun for Global Times

May 19, 2021 06:53 PM

Fighter jets attached to an aviation brigade of the air force under the PLA Central Theater Command take off for cross-area maneuver training in April 19, 2021. The exercise involved training items including cross-area maneuver, long-distance flight after midnight and take-off and landing in unfamiliar airport. ( by Wang Chenyang)

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command tracked and monitored a US warship as it sailed through the Taiwan Straits on Tuesday, displaying the PLA's strong capability and confidence in managing and controlling regional situation, analysts said on Wednesday.

By sending the guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur through the Taiwan Straits on Tuesday and hyping the event publicly, the US sent the wrong signals to "Taiwan independence" forces, and deliberately disturbed and damaged the regional situation, and harmed peace and stability in the Straits, said Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, spokesperson of the PLA Eastern Theater Command, in a statement released on Wednesday.

The PLA Eastern Theater Command organized forces, tracked and monitored the US ship through its entire course on high alert to deal with any kind of threat and provocation, Zhang said.

Zhang's statement came after the US 7th Fleet claimed on Tuesday that the transit was a "routine" one.

Media on the island of Taiwan said this is the fifth time a US warship has sailed through the Straits under the Biden administration.

"We are resolutely against this," Zhang said.

US warships have many other routes other than passing through the Taiwan Straits, but they intentionally chose this option to show presence, to create trouble between the Chinese mainland and the island of Taiwan, to lend support to Taiwan secessionist forces, and to conduct reconnaissance on the PLA, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

While the PLA Eastern Theater Command did not elaborate on how it monitored the US destroyer, analysts said it has many effective methods available.

The PLA's Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft is equipped with a sea surface search radar system that enables long-distance detection and tracking of US naval vessels, Wei said, noting that the PLA could also deploy destroyers or frigates to shadow them.

The South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), a Beijing-based think tank, also identified the USS Curtis Wilbur in the Taiwan Straits on Tuesday from commercial satellite imagery.

Three US reconnaissance aircraft, namely a P-8A anti-submarine aircraft, an EP-3E reconnaissance plane and an RC-135W reconnaissance plane, were also spotted close to the region during the US warship's transit, SCSPI said on Wednesday.

"[The PLA] has the capability and confidence to manage and control the Taiwan Straits," Wei said.

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