4th June 2023 – (Singapore) The guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) and the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Montreal (FFG 336) recently sailed through the Taiwan Strait, a move that has been criticised by the Chinese PLA Eastern Theatre Command. In a statement released on Saturday, Army Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesperson for the Chinese PLA Eastern Theatre Command, condemned the provocative move and accused the relevant countries of deliberately stirring up troubles and risks in the Taiwan Strait, sending wrong signals to the “Taiwan independence” forces, and maliciously undermining regional peace and stability.
The spokesperson further stated that the naval and air forces of the Chinese PLA Eastern Theatre Command conducted tracking and monitoring on the U.S. destroyer and the Canadian frigate throughout the transit, handling the situation lawfully and professionally. He assured that the troops of the PLA Eastern Theatre Command will always stay on high alert, take all necessary measures to firmly respond to all threats and provocations, and resolutely safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security and regional peace and stability.
During the transit, a People’s Liberation Army Navy warship cut across the bow of the USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93), according to a report from Canadian outlet Global News. The Chinese warship made a course to cut across the bow of the American destroyer and was advised over radio by the U.S. crew to alter course to avoid a collision. Montreal’s commander, Capt. Paul Mountford, called the move unprofessional. The Chinese warship came within a 150 yards of the U.S. ship.
In a statement released on Saturday evening, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command confirmed the details and identified the guided-missile destroyer. According to the statement, the People’s Republic of China LUYANG III DDG 132 (PRC LY 132) executed maneuveurs in an unsafe manner in the vicinity of Chung-Hoon, violating the maritime ‘Rules of the Road’ of safe passage in international waters. Chung-Hoon maintained course and slowed to 10 kts to avoid a collision. The PRC LY 132 crossed Chung-Hoon’s bow a second-time starboard to port at 2,000 yards and remained off Chung-Hoon’s port bow. The LY 132’s closest point of approach was 150 yards.
This transit comes as senior defence officials from the region and the U.S. are meeting in Singapore for the annual Shangri-La dialogue. The current situation in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea is expected to be a major topic of discussion at the summit.
The Chinese PLA has condemned the U.S. and Canada for their provocative transit through the Taiwan Strait. The spokesperson criticised the two countries for deliberately stirring up trouble and risks in the region, maliciously undermining regional peace and stability, and sending wrong signals to the “Taiwan independence” forces. The PLA will always be on high alert and take necessary measures to resolutely respond to all threats and provocations to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and regional peace and stability. The comments come after U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin’s speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue where he opposed unilateral changes to the status quo of the Taiwan Strait. However, Lieutenant General Jing Jianfeng, deputy chief of the Central Military Commission‘s Joint Staff Department, accused the US and “Taiwan independence” separatists of changing the status quo and meddling in the Taiwan question by frequently sending warships and warplanes through the Taiwan Strait.