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BEIJING, China – A US Navy patrol aircraft flew through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, the US military said, describing the mission as a demonstration of the country’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
China claims sovereignty over democratically governed Taiwan, and says it has jurisdiction over the strait. Taiwan and the United States dispute that, saying the Taiwan Strait is an international waterway.
The US Navy’s 7th Fleet said the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance plane, which is also used for anti-submarine missions, flew over the strait in international airspace.
“The aircraft’s transit of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows,” it said in a statement.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said its forces monitored the US aircraft as it flew in south through the strait, and described the situation as “normal”.
There was no immediate comment from China.
The last time the US Navy announced a Poseidon had flown through the strait, in October, China said it had sent fighter jets to monitor and warn the aircraft.
Taiwan is gearing up for presidential and parliamentary elections on Jan. 13, which China has cast as a choice between war and peace.
China has stepped up its military activity around Taiwan in the past four years, including staging two rounds of major war games over the last year and a half. – Rappler.com