Beijing ‘steps up naval patrols’ in Taiwan Strait in pushback at US warships

PLA vessels shift patrol patterns to take them closer to island
Beijing says reaction to US is to secure territorial sovereignty

South China Morning Post 
Date: 03 December, 2018
By: Lawrence Chung

Taiwan’s defence ministry confirmed on Monday that naval vessels from the mainland have stepped up patrols in the western part of the Taiwan Strait this year in what analysts say is a reaction to the increased number of US warships sent into the waters to test Beijing.

The ministry was responding to reports in the Taipei-based China Times on Sunday that “irregular” patrols by People’s Liberation Army Navy warships in the western side of the strait this year had become “routine”.

The ministry said the island’s forces had “effectively monitored the situations and movements around the Taiwan Strait by means of its air and naval mechanisms to ensure national security and regional stability”.

Beijing on ‘heightened alert’ as US Navy sails Taiwan Strait
Beijing, which considers Taiwan a wayward province awaiting reunification by force if necessary, has suspended official exchanges with Taipei since President Tsai Ing-wen took office on the island in 2016 and refused to accept the one-China principle, which Beijing insists as a political foundation for cross-strait relations.

To try to force Tsai to accept the principle, Beijing has stepped up its military posturing against Taipei with a series of exercises around the island, in addition to poaching five of its allies.