Chinese Aircraft Carrier Sails Dangerously Close to Taiwan Days Before Biden’s Call

Chinese Aircraft Carrier Sails Dangerously Close to Taiwan Days Before Biden's Call

( – For decades, Taiwan’s relationship with the United States has been a source of strain for China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) considers Taiwan a part of China under its One China policy. Taiwan says it’s an independent country. Over the last several years, the tensions have grown, and China has made provocative moves signaling it could overtake the island any time it pleases.

On Friday, March 18, China fueled tensions with Taiwan once again. Hours before a scheduled call between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, China’s newest and most powerful aircraft carrier passed through the sensitive waters of the Taiwan Strait. While the act is considered discourteous at best, the timing of this event was questionable.

Aircraft Carrier Makes China’s Presence Felt in Taiwan

The Chinese aircraft carrier named “Shandong” appeared 20 nautical miles to the southwest of a Taiwanese island. Observers said it did not have aircraft on its deck as it sailed due north through the strait. Keeping an eye on the situation, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson stayed nearby in international waters to observe the massive aircraft carrier. In addition, Taiwan deployed warships as well.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the “Shandong” has a routine training schedule but didn’t say if the ship’s presence in the strait was part of one. He added that the talks between Biden and Jinping had nothing to do with the aircraft carrier’s movement.

Still, Chinese experts said the timing of the ship’s movement to the two world leaders’ call was provocative. Additionally, some say the ship rarely sails during daylight hours because missions usually occur overnight.

Taiwan said the incident wouldn’t cause tensions to rise, but countries nearby may increase their threat assessment levels. Taiwan is under a heightened state of alert due to the Russian war against Ukraine. Taiwanese officials are concerned China could take advantage of the Ukraine situation and invade the island nation.

Biden and Jinping Discuss Russia

Presidents Biden and Jinping talked for nearly two hours on Friday morning. US officials have deep concerns about the new alliance between Russia and China. Recently, Russia asked China for economic and military assistance, but US officials refused to reveal the specific requests.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry reported that Xi told Biden China didn’t want to see the Ukrainian crisis. The Chinese president added conflict is not in anyone’s best interest, and peace and security should be treasured. He called on the United States and China to shoulder the responsibility of world peace.

On Wednesday, the Chinese ambassador to Ukraine offered their most glaring view of the Ukrainian situation. The ambassador said China respects Ukraine and its sovereign decisions. He told Ukraine China would act responsibly, and they see the incredible unity of the Ukrainian people, which is its strength.

The question still remains whether China will invade Taiwan and absorb it into the People’s Republic of China. It’s been a threat for decades. Only time will tell for certain.

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