TAIPEI (Reuters) - A Canadian warship has sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, the island’s defence ministry said on Saturday, a voyage that comes at a time of heightened military tension between China and Taiwan and which could anger Beijing.
China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory, has stepped up its military activity around the island in the past few weeks, including sending fighter jets to cross the unofficial mid-way line buffer in the strait.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said the Canadian corvette had sailed into the Taiwan Strait from the South China Sea and was heading in a northerly direction after leaving the waterway.
Taiwan’s armed forces monitored the ship while it was in the strait, it said, adding that the situation was normal. The ministry did not elaborate.
Canada’s navy has sailed through the Taiwan Strait before, including in September of last year.
The U.S. Navy has also been conducting regular passages through the strait.
China tends to denounce such sailings. In August, its military labelled the guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin’s sailing through the strait an “extremely dangerous” move.
China-Canada relations have soured since Canada arrested the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies, Meng Wanzhou, in late 2018.
She was arrested on a warrant from the United States charging her with bank fraud for misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran and causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions law. China has demanded her release.
Soon after Meng’s detention, China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, charging them with espionage.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.