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US Warships Pass Through Taiwan Strait, China Rebukes

Beijing views any ships passing through the strait as essentially breaching its sovereignty

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US Warships, Taiwan Strait
The ships' transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Pixabay

China said Thursday it had lodged a protest with Washington after two US warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait amid rising tensions between the two powers.

The US Navy said the USS Preble, a destroyer, and USNS Walter S. Diehl, a supply ship, conducted a routine transit “in accordance with international law” on Wednesday.

“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said. “The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.”

US warships periodically conduct “freedom of navigation” exercises in the narrow waterway separating the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, triggering angry responses from Beijing every time.

US Warships, Taiwan Strait

China said Thursday it had lodged a protest with Washington after two US warships sailed. Pixabay

Beijing views any ships passing through the strait as essentially breaching its sovereignty, while the US and many other nations view the route as international waters open to all.

“We have lodged solemn representations with the US,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular press briefing.

The sail-by comes on top of tensions between the United States and China over trade and US efforts to thwart Chinese telecom giant Huawei over security concerns.

The transit also comes as the US, Japan, South Korea and Australia kicked off operation “Pacific Vanguard” near Guam, bringing together more than 3,000 sailors from the four countries.

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Drills will focus on “live fire exercises, defensive counter-air operations, anti-submarine warfare, and replenishment at sea,” the US 7th Fleet said.

In April, Beijing said its navy warned off a French warship that had entered the Taiwan Strait and lodged an official complaint with Paris.

China sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified, despite the two sides being ruled separately since the end of a civil war on the mainland in 1949.

The US diplomatically recognizes China over Taiwan, but remains the island’s chief military ally and arms supplier.

US Warships, Taiwan Strait
China sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified. VOA

For the Guam naval drills, Australia has contributed two frigates, Japan two destroyers and South Korea one destroyer. The USS Blue Ridge, the 7th Fleet’s flagship, will lead the operation from the US side.

Home to more than 160,000 people, Guam was at the center of nuclear tensions between Washington and Pyongyang in 2017, with North Korea threatening to hit the US territory with “enveloping fire.” (VOA)

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China Opposes Politicization of Huawei Participating in 5G Trial

For some time now, more and more people around the world have shown a fair attitude towards the participation

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China, Huawei, 5G
The Chinese government has never supported any enterprise to engage in any activity that would pose a threat to the legitimate security interests. Pixabay

China has said it is opposed to the “politicization” of Huawei’s likely participation in the 5G network trial in India after New Delhi said it has security concerns in letting the Chinese company take part in the much-awaited exercise.

China’s Foreign Ministry told IANS that Beijing expects India to take an “independent” view on Huawei’s participation and asked it to be “fair” to the telecom equipment firm.

The world’s largest telecom maker is under the spotlight for allegedly spying for the Chinese government and has been banned by the US from buying technology and equipment from American companies.

Earlier this month, India’s Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said India has its security concerns over allowing Huawei to participate in the 5G network trial for 5G services.

China, Huawei, 5G
The world’s largest telecom maker is under the spotlight for allegedly spying for the Chinese government. Pixabay

“The Chinese government has never supported any enterprise to engage in any activity that would pose a threat to the legitimate security interests of other countries and opposes the politicization of technical issues by individual countries,” the Foreign Ministry told IANS in a statement.

“For some time now, more and more people around the world have shown a fair attitude towards the participation of Chinese technology enterprises in the field of 5G network services.

“We hope and believe that India will make an independent judgment and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for the Chinese enterprises to invest and operate, so as to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results,” the Ministry added.

It also said China has always asked its enterprises, including Huawei, to abide by the local laws and regulations of the countries where they are doing business.

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India is an important market for Huawei which already has its biggest research and development centre in Bengaluru. The company is keen to provide 5G network services and is hopeful of being allowed to participate in the trial.

However, the controversies surrounding the South China-based company, especially the accusation of espionage for the Chinese government, seem to have worried New Delhi that shares tense relations with Beijing.

Huawei, which is also the world’s second-largest smartphone maker, was founded and is run by Ren Zhengfei who formerly served in China’s People’s Liberation Army.

China, Huawei, 5G
India’s Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said India has its security concerns over allowing Huawei to participate in the 5G network trial. Pixabay

The private firm has been accused of sharing foreign data from other countries with the Chinese government, a charge denied by both Beijing and Huawei.

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The Shenzhen-based firm is also at the centre of the damaging China-US trade war as American President Donald Trump dialled up the pressure on Huawei. (IANS)