A British frigate was sailing through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Monday en route to Vietnam, according to an official tweet from the vessel, emphasising freedom of navigation in the Western Pacific.
Britain’s HMS Richmond had been deployed in the East China Sea taking part in United Nations sanctions enforcement operations against North Korea.
While U.S. warships pass through the strait on an almost monthly basis, despite Chinese opposition, U.S. allies have generally been reluctant to follow suit.
Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng did not comment directly when asked about the British warship, saying he did not know what missions foreign ships in the Taiwan Strait were carrying out.
When they pass through the Taiwan Strait our nation’s military will have a grasp of the situation, but will not interfere, he told reporters in Taipei, adding they keep a close watch on all movements near Taiwan.
Communist China has been ramping up its exercises around Taiwan and flies air force aircraft almost daily into the southwestern part of Taiwan’s air defence zone. Taiwan revealed that the essence of the drills is preparing to launch a strike against its country.