A Chinese aircraft carrier fleet has sailed through the highly contested waters in the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, just days after a US warship transited the region, reported Reuters.
China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, known as the Type 002, was accompanied by a strike group as it sailed through the waterway from the East China Sea into the strait on Sunday, the Defense Ministry in Taipei said in a statement.
Last Tuesday, the US Navy sent the USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, on a “routine Taiwan Strait transit,” the navy said.
As a result of Type 002 and its strike group transiting the strait, Taiwanese military authorities scrambled fighter jets to monitor the continuing situation.
— CNA (@ChannelNewsAsia) November 17, 2019
China’s latest move came as Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen named former Prime Minister William Lai as her running mate for the 2020 election. Lai has previously angered Beijing for supporting the island nation’s independence.
Type 002 was trailed by the US and Japanese warships as it transited in a southerly direction through the strait, Taiwan’s defense ministry said.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper recently slammed China for its reckless behavior in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Beijing is increasingly resorting to coercion and intimidation to advance its strategic objectives at the expense of other nations,” Esper said.
Beijing has called Taiwan “the most important and sensitive issue in China-US relations” and has threatened to take the island nation by force.
In early November, Taiwan warned if Beijing can’t create a soft landing in its economy, the threat of a Chinese invasion could be nearing.
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu sounded the alarm in a Reuters interview on Nov. 7, when he said, Chinese officials would likely invade Taiwan to divert domestic economic pressures if a soft landing cannot be achieved.
“If the internal stability is a very serious issue, or economic slowdown has become a very serious issue for the top leaders to deal with, that is the occasion that we need to be very careful,” Wu said.
“We need to prepare ourselves for the worst situation to come…military conflict,” he warned.
China’s untenable debt load and Beijing’s resulting inability to boost the credit impulse frightened Wu, who knows that if China’s economy, already near a 30-year low, continues to implode, that military conflict with China would be nearing.
As Beijing briefly deployed troops onto the streets of Hong Kong on Saturday and sent warships through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday — the message is clear this weekend that geopolitical tensions in the region are uncontrollably escalating into a much more significant obstruction that could destroy any chance to solidify a trade deal with the US.