Australian Warship Sails Through Taiwan Strait

By Reuters
November 25, 2023China in Focus

TAIPEI—Taiwan said on Friday that an Australian warship had sailed through the Taiwan Strait, the sensitive and narrow waterway that separates the democratically governed island from China.

The island’s defense ministry did not name the ship but said it entered the strait on Thursday and sailed through it in a southerly direction, adding that Taiwan’s military kept watch throughout. It gave no more details.

An Australian official confirmed the ship, the Toowoomba, transited the international waters of the Taiwan Strait as part of its regional deployment.

Euan Graham, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the Australian navy has regularly transited through the Taiwan Strait but “choose not to publicize it.”

The sailing has come at a difficult time in Australia–China military relations even as the two countries seek to get ties back on track.

Last week, Canberra complained of an incident involving a Chinese warship and the same Australian navy vessel in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone in which an Australian military diver was injured.

The U.S. Navy sends ships through the strait about once a month in what it calls “routine” transits. The Chinese regime routinely objects to the voyages.

Taiwan has over the past four years complained of repeated Chinese military activity around the island, especially in the strait.

Taiwan, which rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims, is gearing up for presidential and parliamentary elections on Jan. 13.

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