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The U.S. military dismissed complaints from China about sending U.S. planes to fly over the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday.
China has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait, the relatively narrow strip of ocean between the island of Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. The Chinese military has frequently sent planes to the area, testing Taiwan’s air defense zone.
The United States sent a P8-A anti-submarine plane to the strait on Friday, prompting China to send its own planes, Reuters reported.
“US Navy ships and aircraft routinely interact with foreign warships and aircraft while operating throughout the region,” the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement Tuesday.
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“All interactions with foreign military forces during transit were in accordance with international standards and had no impact on the operation,” he continued. “The United States will continue to fly, navigate, and operate wherever international law permits, including the Taiwan Strait. The aircraft’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates U.S. commitment in favor of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
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The thorny exchange comes as China and North Korea accuse the United States of trying to create an “Asian-style NATO”.
The North Korean government cited military cooperation between the United States and its allies in Japan and South Korea in a statement released on Monday.
“While blatantly holding joint military exercises with Japan and South Korea, the United States is taking a step towards establishing an Asian-style NATO,” the North Korean foreign ministry wrote.
The regime’s complaints echo China’s condemnation of the new Revitalized Quad Alliancewhich includes the United States, Japan, India and Australia.
President Joe Biden’s administration has stepped up military cooperation with Asian allies as China has grown increasingly aggressive toward Taiwan and North Korea approaches a potential nuclear test.
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China condemned the Quad alliance as an attempt to form an “Asian NATO” earlier this year. Unlike NATO, however, Quad members only agree to cooperate economically and do not sign a mutual defense pact.