The British Royal Navy said Monday that one of its warships sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, a transit that is typically carried out by the US 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 Vietnamese People’s Navy,” the HMS Richmond, a type 23 frigate, wrote on Twitter.
According to The South China Morning Post, this marks the first time that the Royal Navy publicly announced a warship transit through the Taiwan Strait. China’s People’s Liberation Army denounced the voyage, accusing London of having a “mentality of opportunism to undermine the stability of Taiwan Strait.”
The British provocation towards China comes shortly after the UK signed a new military pact with the US and Australia that is meant to counter Beijing in the region, known as AUKUS. Increasing military activity and cooperation with allies in East Asia is a key part of Washington’s strategy against China.
Before sailing through the Taiwan Strait, the HMS Richmond was patrolling the East China Sea to enforce UN sanctions against North Korea, according to the British Defense Ministry.