TENSE ENCOUNTER: Chinese Carrier Sends STARK Warning

On Wednesday, the Taiwan Strait witnessed the powerful Chinese Shandong Carrier Strike Group gracefully cutting through the water. This journey came hot on the heels of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter, the USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752), navigating through the same passage.

The mighty CNS Shandong (17), escorted by a fleet of unidentified ships, smoothly sailed between mainland China and Taiwan, tracing an intricate maritime dance.

In a recent statement, the Defense Ministry said, Today, on June 21, the Chinese Communist Shandong aircraft carrier group ventured along the Taiwan Strait’s western side, heading southward. The Ministry reassured that the Taiwan military had been vigilantly observing aerial and maritime movements within their territory, ready to react if required.

Although it navigated the strait, the Shandong meticulously respected the boundary, remaining within Chinese territory throughout its voyage.

Not long after, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command confirmed that the Stratton had made a comparable transit just a day prior. Their statement highlighted, “Stratton’s journey through the Taiwan Strait stands as a testament to the United States’ unwavering dedication to fostering a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The Shandong’s recent transit follows its earlier trip in May and a brief training assignment in April around Taiwan, both of which had made headlines. During these exercises, PLAN J-15 carrier fighters performed multiple simulated attacks runs on Taiwan, stirring up attention due to the increased military activity following former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 2022 visit.

This latest development comes just two days after U.S. Secretary of State Andrew Blinken proposed high-level military discussions with China’s top brass, only to be rebuffed.

A Chinese diplomat, Yang Tao, reflected on this rejection, stating, “The U.S. is well aware of the obstacles hindering military-to-military exchanges.” This blockade is reportedly tied to various sanctions imposed on Chinese businesses and military operations, impacting sectors from semiconductors to flight training for pilots.

Blinken’s proposal arrived shortly after a warning from Chinese Minister of National Defense Gen. Li Shangfu, cautioning foreign ships and aircraft against operating near Chinese waters. Gen. Li advised foreign entities to respect Chinese territorial integrity during his speech at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on June 4, stressing, “Take good care of your vessels, your fighter jets, your territorial airspace, and waters… then I don’t think there will be future problems.”