Taiwan aware of all foreign ships in Taiwan Strait: president

04/25/2019 02:36 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)

Taipei, April 25 (CNA) Taiwan remains on top of the passage of all foreign ships through the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Thursday following the reported passage of a French military vessel through the strait earlier in the month.

The French ship, identified as the frigate Vendemiaire, passed through the Taiwan Strait April 6 in a rare passage by a vessel of a European country, Reuters said in a report Thursday, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

The officials said that as a result of the passage, China notified France that it was no longer invited to a naval parade to mark 70 years since the founding of China's navy. Warships from India, Australia and several other nations will participate, Reuters said.

Asked to comment, Tsai pointed out that the Taiwan Strait is in international waters and that all kinds of vessels pass through it regularly.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) Armed Forces has "overall and precise" information regarding all vessels passing through the waterway, regardless of whether they are military or civilian vessels, she said.

Meanwhile, military spokesman Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) declined to comment, saying only that all foreign ships passing through the strait are closely watched.

Asked to comment on the significance of the movement, Chieh Chung (揭仲), a senior assistant research fellow at the Taipei-based National Policy Foundation, told CNA that the passage itself is unimportant, because neither Taiwan nor China regard the strait as their territorial waters.

According to Chieh, the interesting part of the story is that it was the United States that made public the passage to the media, not France.

By doing so, Chieh interpreted that as Washington sending a message to Beijing and all its allies that the Taiwan Strait is not under China's control.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)


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