Ministry of Nat. Defense urges calm as Chinese navy activity in Taiwan Strait increases

'Irregular' number of PLAN vessels and patrols in Taiwan Strait becoming 'routine' according to reports

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(By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) is urging calm amid an increase of Chinese naval vessels on the coast of China’s Fujian Province in the Taiwan Strait.

In response to an article from the Taipei based China Times, the MND said the situation is normal and there is no cause for alarm.

The China Times article said that an “irregular” number of Chinese PLAN vessels and patrols in the Taiwan Strait had become “routine” over the past year.

The MND, in a statement published on the evening of Monday, Dec. 3, did not contradict the assertion of the China Times article, but asserted that the situation in the strait is being effectively monitored, and there is no cause for alarm.

Recently on Wednesday, Nov. 28, two US military vessels, the guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106), as well as replenishment oiler USNS Pecos (T-AO-197) proceeded southward through the Taiwan Strait, with the passage later being confirmed by the Pentagon.

“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said a statement from the U.S. Pacific Fleet command following the passage, reports Reuters.

On Nov. 29, Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense stated “the Chinese military is firm in its resolve and will to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

A report from Business Insider suggests that China's reactions to U.S. Freedom of Navigation Operations around the Taiwan Strait, and the South China Sea are becoming increasingly forceful.

While observers have some idea of how active Chinese forces have become in and around Taiwan over the past year, the MND in December of 2017 announced that it would cease to publish information on every incursion of Chinese air craft or naval vessels, which has limited the available data on Chinese military activity.