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Australia Sails Warship Through Taiwan Strait Amid Increased Tensions

The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense has announced that an Australian Navy warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday.

An Australian warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait, which separates the Chinese-claimed island from mainland China, according to Taiwanese authorities.

The Australian ship entered the strait on Thursday sailing in international waters during a regional mission, The Guardian reported.

According to the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense, the ship sailed in a southerly direction, as the Taiwanese military kept watch throughout.

Moreover, The Guardian believes that the vessel is the HMAS Toowoomba, a long-range frigate capable of air defense, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance, and interdiction.

The event is not a first, as Euan Graham, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the Australian Navy has previously sailed through the Taiwan Strait, however, it “chose not the publicize it.”

Relations between China and the Collective West have seen increased turbulence in 2023, particularly in relation to Taiwan and the South China Sea. 

The United States and the United Kingdom have aided Australia by increasing its military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region, through the AUKUS trilateral “security” partnership, which seeks to arm Canberra with nuclear-powered submarines.

More recently, Australia accused China of injuring its military divers deployed on the HMAS Toowoomba in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

Australia accuses China of endangering its divers

In detail, Canberra’s Minister of Defense, Richard Marles, claimed on November 18, that several divers were injured due to sonar pulses emitted by a Chinese warship. Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, also expressed his concern regarding the alleged event.

The Chinese government hit back at the claims made by Australia, as Mao Ning, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said, “We hope relevant parties will stop making trouble in front of China’s doorsteps and work with China to preserve the momentum of improving and growing China-Australia ties.”

Moreover, the Global Times published a statement from the spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Defense, Wu Qian, who said that China has had its own complaints of Australia’s actions.

“We urge the Australian side to respect the facts, stop rude and irresponsible accusations toward China, engage in endeavors that are conducive in boosting mutual trust, and build a positive atmosphere for developing better bilateral relations and military-to-military ties,” Wu underlined.

Wu reiterated that the Chinese vessel in question “kept a safe distance from the Australian vessel and did not conduct any activity that could affect the Australian side’s diving operations.”

Source : Al Mayadeen