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PLA on 'high alert' as US warships pass through Taiwan Strait

Escalation comes as Chinese, US military open lines of communication to avoid accidents

Chinese warship conducting live-fire drill. (Weibo, PLA Daily photo)

Chinese warship conducting live-fire drill. (Weibo, PLA Daily photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese military leaders told state media outlets on Saturday (Aug. 28) the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is on “high alert” and is closely tracking and monitoring two U.S. warships after they passed through the Taiwan Strait on Friday.

China’s defense ministry expressed anger at the passage of the USS Kidd guided-missile destroyer and coastguard cutter Munro through the strait on Saturday, according to Al Jazeera reports.

Senior Colonel Tan Kefei (譚克非 ) said the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command had dispatched warships, bombers, fighter jets, anti-submarine aircraft, and helicopters to follow and monitor the American vessels and remains on “high alert.” Tan described the U.S. a being “the biggest security risk maker in the region,” and that its recent movements in the area were “vile in nature.”

In a contrasting statement, the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet claimed “The ships’ lawful transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The escalation comes just a day after Reuters quoted a senior Pentagon official that talks between Chinese and American military officials were taking place for the first time since US President Biden took office in January.

Anonymous sources within the Pentagon said a secure video conference was held via the U.S.-PRC Defense Telephone Link. It is understood the aim of the talk was to keep lines of communication open and to discuss how to mitigate potential flare-ups or accidents that may result from increased military activity by both sides in recent months.

Updated : 2021-09-27 02:14 GMT+08:00