Chinese aircraft carrier sails through Taiwan Strait ahead of Biden, Xi call

A Chinese aircraft carrier on Thursday made a trip through the Taiwan Strait just hours ahead of President Biden’s slated call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday. 

“Around 10:30 a.m. the CV-17 appeared around 30 nautical miles to the southwest of Kinmen, and was photographed by a passenger on a civilian flight,” a source familiar with the issue told Reuters

Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense also confirmed the incident, giving no details but saying they know the “full grasp” of China’s actions in the Taiwan Strait. 

The source added that Taiwan sent warships out and that the destroyer USS Ralph Johnson followed the Chinese ship for part of its trip. 

The U.S. vessel “conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit March 17 (local time) through international waters in accordance with international law,” U.S. Navy spokesperson Lt. Mark Langford said, according to Reuters. 

China’s defense ministry told Reuters it was a “routine training schedule,” although Reuter’s source called the move “provocative” as it was so close to Biden’s call with Xi. 

Biden and Xi are expected to talk about multiple issues, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s tensions with Taiwan.

“We should not associate this with the communication between the heads of state of China and the United States. You may think it is too sensitive. What is sensitive is you, not the Taiwan Strait,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, though the island has been self-governed for decades.

The Hill has reached out to the Navy for comment.

Tags Biden China–United States relations Joe Biden Taiwan Taiwan Strait Xi Jinping Xi Jinping Zhao Lijian

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