UPDATED: Chinese Carrier Sails Through Taiwan Strait One Day After U.S. Coast Guard Cutter

June 21, 2023 5:27 PM
Chinese carrier CNS Shandong (17) operating in the Philippine Sea. JSDF Photo

The Chinese Shandong Carrier Strike Group transited the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, according to the Taiwan Defense Ministry. The carrier transit was preceded by a transit through the strait by U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752).
CNS Shandong (17) and its escorts transited the strait between Taiwan and mainland China with an unidentified group of surface ships.

“A Chinese Communist Shandong aircraft carrier group passed through the west side of the Taiwan Strait in a southerly direction today June 21,” reads a statement from the ministry.
“The (Taiwan) military was closely monitoring our territorial air and sea movements and will respond accordingly.”

The carrier did not cross the median line and stayed on the Chinese side of the strait.

Late Wednesday, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command announced that on Tuesday Stratton had made a similar transit. 

“The ship transited through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state. Stratton’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” reads a statement from INDO-PACOM.

Crew of USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) line the rails as the cutter conducts a passing exercise with the Philippine Coast Guard Vessel Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702) in the South China Sea, June 7, 2023. US Coast Guard Photo

The transit of one of two People’s Liberation Army Navy aircraft carriers through the strait follows one Shandong made in May and a short training deployment in April around Taiwan, USNI News reported at the time.

During the deployment, PLAN J-15 carrier fighters made several simulated attack runs on Taiwan as part of an overall uptick in military operations since former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit in 2022.

The transit occurred two days after U.S. Secretary of State Andrew Blinken pitched Chinese leadership on reopening high-level military dialogue between Beijing and the Pentagon. His request was rejected.

“The U.S. side is surely aware of why there is difficulty in military-to-military exchanges,” Chinese diplomat Yang Tao said, according to The Associated Press.

That rejection is due to an array of sanctions against Chinese business and military interests, including semiconductors and flight training for Chinese pilots, according to the South China Morning Post.

The appeal from Blinken follows a warning from Chinese Minister of National Defense Gen. Li Shangfu, who warned foreign ships and aircraft not to operate close to Chinese territorial waters.

“What’s the point of going there? For China, we always say mind your own business, take good care of your own vessels, your fighter jets, take good care of your own territorial airspace and waters, if that is the case, then I don’t think there will be future problems,” Li said during remarks at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on June 4, reported USNI News.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Follow @samlagrone

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