South China Sea: Beijing backlash at US warship in disputed waters amid soaring tensions

South China Sea: Expert predicts no conflict for five years

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The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS John Finn, sailed through the Taiwan strait on Wednesday in accordance with International law. The news comes as both the US and China plan senior level talks next week in Alaska to discuss tensions in the region.

Beijing declared the vessel’s presence in the region a “provocation” that disrupts stability.

“The US ship’s passage sent a wrong message,” said Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui from the People’s Liberation Army. “Such [actions] serve not only to disrupt the regional situation but also endanger stability in the Taiwan Strait, which we resolutely oppose.”

The US Seventh Fleet said in a statement that the frigate was part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and was acting in the fleet’s area of operations.

“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the statement said.

“The US military will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.”

The transit of the US destroyer is the third of its kind since Joe Biden took office in January.

Colonel Zhang said: “This move by the US Navy has artificially created risk factors across the Taiwan Strait and deliberately undermined regional peace and stability.

“We firmly oppose this.

“Our troops in the theatre are always on high alert and are ready to respond to all threats and provocations.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping has repeatedly made claims that Taiwan is part of China under the ‘One-China policy’.

His plans to “reunite” China with Taiwan have seen daily incursions into Taiwan’s waters and airspace.

Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral Philip Davidson, warned that the mainland could invade Taiwan within the next six years.

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In a hearing on Tuesday the admiral said: “I worry that they’re accelerating their ambitions to supplant the United States and our leadership role in the rules-based international order … by 2050.

“Taiwan is clearly one of their ambitions before that.

“I think the threat is manifest during this decade, in fact, in the next six years.”

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