China’s reaction to the provocation in the Taiwan Strait surprised the world

(ORDO NEWS) — Since Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the Chinese have carried out one of the largest exercises around the island, according to CNN. But now Beijing’s behavior is confusing analysts. They were surprised at his reaction to the appearance of two US cruisers in the Taiwan Strait.

When U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in early August, the Chinese military held some of the largest military exercises around the island in history.

Chinese aircraft flew in flocks over the Taiwan Strait, and the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) even staged rocket launches over the democratically ruled island that the Chinese Communist Party calls its sovereign territory, although it has never controlled it.

Some analysts and officials fear that these military exercises have created a “new reality” in the Straits. Such a reality will be the permanent presence of the PLA near Taiwan.

Meanwhile, US officials have vowed that Washington will stay on course and challenge China’s deterrence tactics.
On Monday, the US Navy sent two guided missile cruisers across the Taiwan Strait. Beijing claims sovereignty, sovereign rights to this island, claims jurisdiction over it in accordance with Chinese law, and interprets the relevant provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in its own way. The US and other countries claim that the strait is international waters under a UN treaty.

The US Navy sent two cruisers across the strait for the first time in four years, said a research fellow at the Singapore School of International Studies. S. Rajaratnam Collin Koh, who maintains a database on the passage of ships and ships through the Taiwan Strait.

“Sending two cruisers instead of one, as is usually done in such missions, is definitely a more significant signal of protest, not only against Chinese military exercises around the island in response to Pelosi’s visit, but also against Beijing’s attempts to change the legal status of this waterway and undermine freedom of navigation in the area,” Koch said.

There is nothing surprising about the Sunday passage of American warships. They have made such passages dozens of times in recent years, and US officials say the practice will continue. But analysts were surprised by Beijing’s restrained response.

The command of the Eastern Theater of the PLA stated that it was monitoring these cruisers and was on high alert to “disrupt any provocation.”

Even the state-run Global Times, known for its jingoistic and invariably nationalist editorials, said the presence of the two cruisers “poses no real threat to China’s security.”

Previous passages of foreign ships have elicited a harsher response. When the American destroyer Benfold passed through the strait in July, Colonel Shi Yi, spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command, called the United States “a destroyer of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

This month, China’s Ambassador to Washington, Qin Gang, demanded that the United States stop the passage of naval ships, saying it heightened tensions and gave courage to “the pro-Taiwan independence separatist forces.” “If any action is taken to the detriment of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the PRC, Beijing will react to it,” the ambassador told reporters in Washington, when asked about the possible passage of ships in the future.

Analyst Koh noted that the statements made on Sunday from Beijing were very restrained.

“Why did the Chinese show restraint, after all, they had previously spoken out sharply against Washington’s intentions to continue such passages of ships?” Koch asked and gave three possible explanations.

First, Beijing certainly fears a negative international reaction, since any attempt to restrict the passage of US Navy ships through the strait can be regarded as a threat to the navigation of ships from other countries passing through this waterway.

Secondly, after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, Beijing cut off key channels of communication with Washington, which increased the risk of misunderstandings between PLA ships and the US Navy.

Thirdly, there are other areas where Washington and Beijing are cooperating, and China certainly does not want to create additional tension there.

“It does not make sense to provoke a further increase in tension, as this could escalate into clashes,” Koch said.
Carl Schuster, formerly head of operations at the Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center in Hawaii, said there was a fourth possible explanation. “I think Chinese leader Xi Jinping will try to prevent such actions that increase the chances of Republicans and other aggressive opponents of China to win the upcoming elections. He does not want the House of Representatives and Senate to pass laws in favor of Taiwan, as well as decisions that restrict investment and Chinese influence in the US,” Schuster said.

According to him, the sending of two cruisers instead of one should not be regarded as some kind of statement. Rather, it is sound military planning. “Given Chinese threats and recent missile launches in international waters … sending two ships into the strait instead of one seems entirely justified,” Schuster said.

According to him, the US Navy will regularly carry out passages of its ships through the strait. “Under international law, these are international waters, so there is no official dispute about the status of the strait,” he said. “By making such passages, the US Navy is calmly and effectively confirming this.”

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