by Alberto Galvi –
When China tracked the aircraft carrier USS Penfold of the US Seventh Fleet in the region earlier this week, China’s Defense Ministry accused the US of destabilizing the Taiwan Strait.
The United States regularly sends naval patrols across the 180-kilometre-wide Taiwan Strait in support of international law on freedom of navigation. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the sovereign territorial waters of any country extend 12 nautical miles from the coast.
China claims the waters of the Strait off its coast and those off Taiwan. The US Seventh Fleet said the exercises on July 19 were conducted in accordance with international law.
In what Washington calls international waters, US warships and the US Air Force are regularly deployed in the area. Next month, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will fly to Taiwan, much to Beijing’s apparent anger.
Washington remains Taiwan’s main ally and arms supplier for its defense, although Washington’s behavior remains uncertain if Taiwan comes under attack from China.
The essence of the matter lies in the fact that Taiwan is recognized by the international community only by very few small states (including the Vatican), while the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People’s Republic of China look at each other. separatists.
China occupies some small islands in the Taiwan archipelago, but they are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. China also claims much of the South China Sea, and Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines claim parts of it.
Meanwhile, a massive six-week regional military exercise led by the US Navy is underway. This year, the Pacific Rim Exercise (RIMPAC) includes 14 countries: South Korea, Australia, Japan, the United States, Canada, Peru, the United Kingdom, India, Ecuador, France, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, and Russia. The exercises will take place in the waters around California and Hawaii and will end on August 4.
To counter the expansion of China’s economic and military influence in the broader Asia-Pacific region, the United States entered into a free security alliance with India, Japan, and Australia, called the Quartet. To boost trade ties in the region, 13 countries have signed up to the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a move that Beijing has strongly opposed. The 13 countries are: the United States, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Brunei, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Washington and Beijing are at odds on several fronts: Taiwan, the South China Sea, international trade, human rights, Tibet and Xinjiang.
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