Chinese officials on Monday accused Britain of “evil intentions” after the country sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait, Reuters reported.
The HMS Richmond, recently stationed in the East China Sea, was taking part in exercises in United Nations sanctions enforcement operations against North Korea.
A post to the HMS Richmond's official Twitter account on Sunday read: “After a busy period working with partners and allies in the East China Sea, we are now en route through the Taiwan Strait to visit #Vietnam and the Vietnam People's Navy."
After a busy period working with partners and allies in the East China Sea, we are now en route through the Taiwan Strait to visit #Vietnam and the Vietnam People's Navy. #CSG21 International by design pic.twitter.com/0bys9eYY42— HMS Richmond (@HMS_Richmond) September 26, 2021
The People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command later said air and naval forces have been ordered to follow the warship and gave a fair warning to Great Britain, Reuters reported.
"This kind of behaviour harbours evil intentions and damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," Chinese military officials wrote. "Theatre command forces always maintain a high level of alert and resolutely counter all threats and provocations."
China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory, has stepped up military and political pressure in an effort to force Taiwan to accept Chinese sovereignty.
Beijing has been conducting military exercises around Taiwan, flying air force aircraft into the southwestern part of the island's air defense identification zone on the daily basis, Reuters noted.