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Australian Warship Passes Through Taiwan Strait: Taipei Military

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence said Friday that an Australian warship had the day before sailed through the Taiwan Strait, a sensitive waterway separating the self-ruled island from China.

The ship entered the strait on Thursday and sailed in a southerly direction, the ministry said.

“During the passage through the strait, Taiwan’s military monitored the situation of the sea and air space, and the situation was normal,” it said.

The 180-kilometer (110-mile) strait is a major shipping route but also serves as a tense geopolitical tussling ground for Beijing — which claims democratic Taiwan as its territory.

Taiwan’s military reports near-daily sightings of vessels around its waters, as well as incursions made by Chinese warplanes in its air defence zone.

The United States sends its warships through the Taiwan Strait for “routine” transits, and British, Canadian, French, and Australian warships have all made passages in recent years — sparking protests from Beijing.

Thursday’s strait passage was made by Australia’s HMAS Toowoomba, which was transiting international waters as part of its regional deployment.

The long-range frigate was in waters off Japan earlier this month, supporting United Nations sanctions enforcement efforts within Tokyo’s exclusive economic zone.

But navy divers from the HMAS Toowoomba were injured, “likely” from sonar pulses emitted by a Chinese warship, Australia’s defense minister said last week.

Beijing called Canberra’s accusation “reckless and irresponsible,” while Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the Chinese warship had displayed “dangerous… and unprofessional” conduct at sea.

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