US 'two-warship' transit of Taiwan Straits last, desperate move by Trump admin: observer
Published: Dec 31, 2020 04:02 PM

Vessels in the Taiwan Straits, July 20, 2017. Photo: CGTN

Chinese Defense Ministry firmly opposed two US Navy warships that sailed through the Taiwan Straits on Thursday, the last day of 2020. Amid incumbent US administration's desperate destructive acts, Chinese observers regarded the ministry's strong response as a warning that the Taiwan question is China's core interest and no one is allowed to challenge China over the question.  

On Thursday morning, right before the New Year, two US Navy destroyers, the USS John S. McCain and USS Curtis Wilbur, sailed through the Taiwan Straits and "Chinese military monitored their activities with air and navy forces," defense ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said in a statement published on the ministry's WeChat account. 

The US flexed its muscles again after a sail-through on December 18. This sent a wrong signal to Taiwan secessionists, seriously jeopardizing regional peace and stability, Wu said. 

Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) always keeps high alert and is ready to deal with any threats and provocations to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the spokesperson said. 

Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also slammed the US warships' frequent provocations in the region at Thursday's routine press conference, urging the US to play a constructive role for regional peace and stability, not the opposite.

The two warship sail-through is rare and the provocation came just after a previous menace no more than two weeks ago. Accordingly, China escalated its reaction.  Previously such sail-throughs were slammed mostly by the PLA Eastern Theater Command, but this time the Defense Ministry spokesperson issued the opposition, Chinese observers said, noting the US has the tradition of stirring up troubles around festivals.

Tian Shichen, vice president of think tank Grandview Institution, told the Global Times that the Defense Ministry sent a signal that the US should not cross the line. The Taiwan question is China's core interest and there is no room for ambiguity.   

China, out of security concerns, must express concerns and warnings to US military's provocations, Tian said. 

International relations experts contend that the rare two-warship sail-through reflects the US' tough stance with the Taiwan question. President Donald Trump has about 20 days left in the White House and such random acts of maneuvers are expected. 

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times that the US will not change its strategy of containing China by playing the Taiwan card and that China should be alert to it. 

Although it is unclear how Joe Biden will deal with Taiwan-related affairs after taking office, he is likely to prioritize domestic topics and be less provocative, Li added. The two-warship sail-through is part of the Trump administration's desperate and destructive moves during its final days, Li said. 

Li believed such moves will be adjusted by Biden's team during his first 100days because both China and the US "are willing to act in a controlled manner on Taiwan-related topics," Li said on Thursday.