U.S. Navy P-8 Flies Over Taiwan Strait, China Scrambles Fighters

April 28, 2023 12:06 PM
A P-8A Poseidon from the ‘Pelicans’ of Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 flies by the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68) on Feb. 24, 2023. US Navy Photo

China’s People’s Liberation Army scrambled fighters to monitor a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon that flew over the Taiwan Strait Friday, according to U.S. and Chinese statements.

The P-8A flew over the Taiwan Strait in international airspace early Friday local time, according to a U.S. Navy news release.

“The aircraft’s transit of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the Navy statement reads. “The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows including within the Taiwan Strait.”

Chinese Col. Shi Yi, a spokesperson for the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command, called the aircraft’s transit “provocative.”

“In the recent period, U.S. warships and planes have frequently carried out provocative actions, fully proving that the U.S. is a disruptor of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and a creator of security risks in the Taiwan Strait,” Shi said in a statement.

Two weeks ago, on April 16, the Navy sent USS Milius (DDG-69) through the strait. It was the first publicly announced Taiwan Strait transit since USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) in January, and came a week after China encircled Taiwan for a series of drills that included sorties from one of the PLAN’s aircraft carriers, USNI News previously reported.

Tensions between the U.S. and China have increased since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visited House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in California at the beginning of April.

At the end of February, a U.S. Navy flew a P-8A Poseidon over the Taiwan Strait, prompting criticism from the PLA.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
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