Transit of US coast guard ship through Taiwan Straits is purely a publicity stunt, exposing US’ diplomatic duplicity: experts
Published: Jun 23, 2023 01:12 AM
Chinese coast guard ships followed a US Coast Guard ship that sailed through the Taiwan Straits on Wednesday and monitored the whole process, the Chinese Coast Guard said on Thursday, calling the US latest move a public hype. It vowed to resolutely safeguard China's national sovereignty, security and maritime rights and interests.
Experts said that the passage of the US Coast Guard cutter Stratton through the Taiwan Straits was purely a show of presence and a publicity stunt, and would not pose any substantial threat to the Chinese mainland. If the US continues to play with fire on the Taiwan question, it will undoubtedly lead to a further deterioration of China-US relations, for which the US will bear responsibility. 
"Stratton's transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States' commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows," the US Navy's 7th Fleet said in a statement on Thursday.

It is worth noting that this is less than a month since the US destroyer USS Chung-Hoon and the Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Montreal passed through Taiwan Straits on June 3. Normally, US warships typically sail through the Taiwan Straits about once a month.

On only two days earlier on June 19, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had just wrapped up a two-day widely watched visit to Beijing. He is the first US secretary of State to visit China since 2018.
The passage of the US Coast Guard cutter through the Taiwan Straits came just after Blinken's departure. It clearly indicated that the US will continue to stubbornly pursue its position of containing China with the Taiwan question, which is a very dangerous action that does not respect China's sovereignty and security interests, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday.
"This incident once again exposes the duplicity of US diplomacy toward China. On the one hand, it claims to stabilize US-China relations, but on the other hand, it creates tension in the relations, which is a direct manifestation of its inconsistent words and deeds," Li said.

The expert believes that if the US continues to play with fire on the Taiwan question, it will lead to a further setback in China-US relations, and the responsibility for its instability and deterioration is undoubtedly on the US side.
Compared with the passage of previous US vessels, the US did not send warships this time, but only sent Coast Guard vessels. In response, China's comment was given by China's Coast Guard rather than the PLA Eastern Theater Command.
Stronger Chinese opposition has occurred before when the US sent a missile destroyer and a coast guard vessel to cross the Taiwan Straits on March 24, 2019, and the US Navy's Kidd-class destroyer and the US Coast Guard Cutter Munro sailed through the Taiwan Straits on August 27, 2021.
Zhang Xuefeng, a Chinese military expert, told the Global Times on Thursday that the passage of US Coast Guard vessels through the Taiwan Strait does not pose any substantial threat to China's mainland. He advised the US Coast Guard to stop such actions as soon as possible. "If any unexpected incidents occur due to the passage of US Coast Guard vessels through the Taiwan Straits, the failed ones will be the US ships equipped only with guns and with a relatively small displacement."
Experts previously speculated that the strengthened deployment of the US Coast Guard in the Asia-Pacific region can, on one hand, make up for the insufficient military strength of the US 7th Fleet in the area, and on the other hand, compared to naval vessels, the Coast Guard has higher flexibility and is less sensitive than a warship.
Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, pointed out that although the US Coast Guard vessels are less sensitive, they are the second force of the US Navy. In recent years, the US Coast Guard has deployed more forces to the Asia-Pacific region, especially in the Western Pacific region, and has established cooperation with countries such as Japan and the Philippines.
"The US intention is obvious: to help these countries maintain so-called maritime security, ensure that other countries do not excessively develop the ocean through joint law enforcement at sea, and essentially aim to contain China," Song said.
Song stated that "the function of the US Coast Guard is to maintain the security of the US coastline, and its strength exists on the east and west coasts of the US and should not run to the other side of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to maintain the security of its national coastline. This is a clear paradox."