PLA on Alert During US Warship’s Latest Taiwan Straits Provocation

By Liu Xuanzun

Jun 23, 2021 01:11 PM

Warships attached to a destroyer flotilla with the navy under the PLA Eastern Theater Command steam in astern formation in waters of the East China Sea during the realistic training on April 23, 2021.Photo:China Military

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command tracked and monitored a US warship as it sailed through the Taiwan Straits with the aim of stirring up trouble in the region on Tuesday, the command's spokesperson said on Wednesday.

As its only aircraft carrier based in the Asia-Pacific region leaves for the Middle East, the US is trying to register its presence as it attempts to fill the void and contain China, analysts said.

The PLA Eastern Theater Command organized maritime and aerial forces, tracked and monitored on high alert the USS Curtis Wilbur guided missile destroyer through its entire course when it made a transit in the Taiwan Straits on Tuesday, said Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, spokesperson of the Command, in a statement released on Wednesday.

This is the sixth time a US warship has sailed through the Taiwan Straits since Joe Biden assumed US presidential office on January 20, media on the island of Taiwan said. The last time the USS Curtis Wilbur sailed through the Straits was on May 18, a move that was also closely monitored by the PLA Eastern Theater Command. 

Zhang said the US is again playing the old trick and stirring up trouble in the Taiwan Straits and intentionally sabotaging regional security, threatening the peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits. It clearly shows that the US is the biggest security risk maker in the region. "We are resolutely against this."

The provocations from US warships along the Taiwan Straits are aimed at creating trouble between the Chinese mainland and the island of Taiwan, in order to lend support to Taiwan secessionists, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times.

Chinese mainland military observers also noted that each time a US warship sailed through the Taiwan Straits, the PLA monitored and tracked its movement with warplanes and warships, showing that the PLA has complete control over the region. 

While the US 7th Fleet said in a statement on Tuesday that the latest Taiwan Straits transit by the USS Curtis Wilbur was routine, it could be an attempt to make up for the current situation of the lack of a US aircraft carrier in the Asia-Pacific region, analysts said.

The USS Ronald Reagan, the only US aircraft carrier based in the Asia-Pacific, left the South China Sea on Friday on a mission to evacuate US troops from Afghanistan, according to the monitoring of the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), a Beijing-based think tank.

Before the US military sends another carrier to the region, it would want to use its other vessels and aircraft to register its presence as it tries to fill the void left by the USS Ronald Reagan, a Chinese mainland expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Increased US warship activities and warplane close-in reconnaissance operations near China should be expected, the expert predicted.

Last time, after the USS Curtis Wilbur sailed through the Straits on May 18, it went on and intruded Chinese territorial waters in the South China Sea two days later, and was driven away by the PLA.

The troops of the PLA Eastern Theater Command are on high alert all the time, so as to deal with all threats and provocations at any time and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, Zhang said.

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