In news- A British warship HMS Richmond recently sailed through the Taiwan Strait. The development is a rare voyage by a non-US military vessel as the US has been regularly performing “freedom of navigation” voyages in the strait.
About Taiwan strait-
- The Taiwan Strait is a 180-kilometer wide strait separating Fujian Province of China from the island of Taiwan.
- It is part of the South China Sea and connects to the East China Sea to the north.
- Former names of the Taiwan Strait include the Formosa Strait, the Strait of Fukien or Fujian, and the Black Ditch.
- International agreement does not define the Taiwan Strait but places its waters within the South China Sea.
- The entire strait is on Asia’s continental shelf.
- Historically both the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan espoused a One-China Policy that considered the strait part of the exclusive economic zone of a single “China”.
- In practice, a maritime border of control exists along the median line down the strait as defined in 1955 by US Air Force General Benjamin O. Davis Jr.
- The median line is also known as the Davis line.
- The US then pressured both sides into entering into a tacit agreement not to cross the median line.
- The PRC did the first encroachment in 1999 and since then Chinese aircraft have encroached over the median line with increasing regularity.
- A growing number of U.S. allies like Canada, Australia have transited the route as China has intensified its military threats towards Taiwan.