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US coast guard vessel passes through Taiwan Strait: Chinese Coast Guard

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Beijing: China will strengthen patrols in the waters under its jurisdiction after a US Coast Guard vessel recently passed through the Taiwan Strait and remains committed to defending its sovereignty, Chinese coast guard spokesperson Gan Yu said on Thursday.

“China’s maritime police ships escorted it [the US ship] all the way and retaliated in accordance with the law. China’s maritime police will strengthen patrols in the waters under the jurisdiction of China, will firmly protect national sovereignty, security, rights and interests at sea,” Gan said.

He specified that the US cutter Stratton passed through the strait on Wednesday, June 21.

The incident took place two days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded his visit to China, on which Washington pinned its hopes of improving relations, which worsened because of the situation around Taiwan, among other issues.

The situation around Taiwan escalated again after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in April, with Beijing launching massive three-day military drills near the island in what it called a “warning” to Taiwanese separatists and foreign powers.

Taiwan has been governed independently of mainland China since 1949. Beijing considers the island a province of China, while Taiwan says it is an autonomous country but stops short of declaring independence. Beijing opposes any official foreign contacts with Taipei and regards Chinese sovereignty over the island as indisputable.

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