The US Navy announced today that the USS Theodore Roosevelt entered the South China Sea yesterday, the same day that Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) said that jets had been scrambled in response to incursions into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) by 13 Chinese military planes.
US Indo-Pacific Command said today, Sunday, January 24, that the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) entered the South China Sea, January 23, to conduct “routine operations.”
“The TRCSG is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet to ensure freedom of the seas, build partnerships that foster maritime security, and conduct a wide range of operations,” the press release said.
On the same day the TRSG entered the South China Sea via the Bashi Channel, Taiwan’s MND announced that it had responded to incursions by 13 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft into the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ. The aircraft consisted of eight H-6K bombers, four J-16 fighter jets, and a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft. Taiwan responded by dispatching aircraft, issuing radio warnings, and tracking the aircraft with air-defense missile systems.
In recent months, the PLA has flown sorties of one, sometimes two planes into the same corner of the ADIZ on a daily basis, in what some commentators describe as “gray zone warfare.”
The large number of PLA sorties yesterday prompted a response from the US State Department, also January 23.
“The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC attempts to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan.”
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in the statement.
“We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability.”
The statement has been received as a signal that the Biden administration will follow a policy continuum with the previous administration in relation to Taiwan.
“Washington’s commitment to Taiwan is rock-sold,” the State Department spokesman said.
We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Indo-Pacific region — and that includes deepening our ties with democratic Taiwan. The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan.”
Cover Picture: USN Petty Officer 2nd Class Casey S
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