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[Published: Friday October 16 2020]

 China warns US against 'provocative actions' in Taiwan Strait

BEIJING, 16 Oct. - (ANA) - China has warned the United States to stop its "provocative actions" in the Taiwan Strait, after an American Navy destroyer sailed through the strategic waterway.
Zhang Chunhui, a spokesman for China's Eastern Theater Command, in a statement on Thursday censured the passage of the destroyer USS Barry through the Taiwan Strait and said that the United States was seriously undermining peace and stability in the area.
Zhang said the Chinese military had followed and monitored the USS Barry "throughout the entire process" as the destroyer traveled through the strait on Wednesday.
"We sternly urge the US to stop making trouble-stirring statements and moves. The forces under the command are always on high alert and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," the Chinese official said.
Zhang also accused the US of sending "misleading signals" to the people in Taiwan.
The US Navy described the Wednesday passage of the USS Barry through the Taiwan Strait as "routine transit." The sail was the 10th such move by a US naval vessel this year.
The US has stepped up its support for Taiwan in defiance of China and indicated that it wants to sell sophisticated military equipment to the self-ruled island as Taipei plans to modernize its military and improve its warfare capacity.
China has sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan, and under the "One China" policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty, saying the island is part of China's territory awaiting reunification.
The US, too, recognizes Chinese sovereignty over the island but has long courted Taipei in an attempt to unnerve Beijing.
Washington, which has no formal diplomatic relations with Taipei by law, is the island's largest weapons supplier and an avid backer of Taiwan's secessionist president Tsai Ing-wen.
Washington almost regularly makes provocative moves around the self-governed island, particularly by sailing its warships through the sensitive and strategic Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan from mainland China.
Xi orders troops to focus on 'preparing for war'
Meanwhile, China's state news agency Xinhua quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping as calling on troops during a visit to a military base in the southern province of Guangdong to "put all (their) minds and energy on preparing for war."
During the military inspection of the People's Liberation Army Marine Corps in Chaozhou City on Tuesday, Xi told soldiers to "maintain a state of high alert" and called on them to be "absolutely loyal, absolutely pure, and absolutely reliable."
The White House had a day earlier notified the US Congress that it was planning to move ahead with the sale of advanced military equipment, including MQ-9 drones and a coastal defensive missile system, to Taiwan.
In a stern response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian urged Washington to "immediately cancel any arms sales plans to Taiwan," and cut all US-Taiwan military ties.
Tensions between the US and China remain at their highest point in decades, with sharp divisions over a host of political and economic issues, including trade, Hong Kong, and the coronavirus pandemic.  - (ANA) -
AB/ANA/16 October 2020 - - -

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