China accuses U.S. of ‘provocations’ in Taiwan Strait

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Nov. 23 (UPI) — China’s foreign ministry said Tuesday the United States should “stop making provocations” after a U.S. Navy ship passed through the Taiwan Strait.

At a news conference, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, “The U.S. side should immediately correct its mistakes, stop making provocations, challenging the bottom line and playing with fire and play a more constructive role in regional peace and stability.”

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Zhao’s comments were in response to a question about the U.S. ship.

The USS Milius sailed through the international waters on Tuesday, a week after President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met in a virtual summit. At that meeting, both called for their nations to stabilize their relationship.

Zhao said, “The U.S. warships have repeatedly flexed muscles, made provocations and stirred up trouble in the Taiwan Strait in the name of ‘freedom of navigation.’ This is by no means commitment to freedom and openness, but rather deliberate disruption and sabotage of regional peace and stability.”

In early October, the United States accused China of “provocative” military action after it flew dozens of military planes near Taiwan’s airspace.

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“The United States is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement at the time. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan.”

Earlier this month, a group of Republican senators introduced legislation aimed at bolstering Taiwan’s defense against Chinese aggression.

China asserts that there is only “one China” with Taiwan part of it. The Chinese government has said that it seeks Taiwan’s eventual unification with the mainland. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in October that her government would not “bow to pressure” from Beijing.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State department on Monday held its second annual U.S.-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue to “deepen cooperation and strengthen the robust economic partnership between the two economies,” according to a statement that highlighted the virtual event.