JAKARTADAILY.ID - China's People's Liberation Army deployed surveillance ships and aircraft to tail USS Milius, which sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday morning, reported Hindustan Times.
The incident happened just a few weeks after President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden held a video summit earlier this month where the Chinese President warned Biden that encouraging Taiwanese independence would be "playing with fire".
However, Lieutenant Nicholas Lingo from the US Seventh Fleet assured that there was no hidden agenda behind the ship's movement.
"Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit November 23 through international waters in accordance with international law," said the Lieutenant in the statement quoted by the Hindustan Times.
"The theatre troops will take all necessary measures to resolutely counter all threats and provocations, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity," said spokesperson Colonel Shi Yi on the deployment of ships and aircraft to follow the U.S. vessel.
In recent years, the British, Canadian, French and Australian warships have all made passages through the Taiwan Strait, sparking similar complaints from China.
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said the PLA had developed the ability to blockade Taiwan's major airports and harbors in a recently released white paper. President Tsai Ing-wen has focused on preparing for potential military action from China since her election in 2016.
The administration of US former President Donald Trump approved $5.1 billion in weapons sales in 2020, while the current office approved its first sale of $750 million in August.