US Military Conducts Taiwan Strait Flyover Amid Heightened Tensions

China recently challenged US military activity in the Strait

On Friday, a US Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane flew over the Taiwan Strait amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan and military activity in the region.

“A US Navy P-8A Poseidon transited the Taiwan Strait in international airspace on June 24. The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows including within the Taiwan Strait,” US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.

The flight came after China appeared to challenge the legality of US military activity in the Taiwan Strait by saying the channel is not “international waters,” citing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The US sends warships through the Taiwan Strait about once a month and releases statements referring to the waterway as “international waters.”

“It is a false claim when certain countries call the Taiwan Strait ‘international waters’ in order to find a pretext for manipulating issues related to Taiwan and threatening China’s sovereignty and security,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on June 13.

The US responded to Wenbin’s comments by saying it will “continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, and that includes transiting through the Taiwan Strait.”

The US has stepped up its support for Taiwan in recent years, angering Beijing. The tensions were on display at the recent Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, where Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe.

The two military leaders traded warnings over Taiwan, with Wei saying that US support for Taiwan’s “independence forces” would lead to war. “If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs and take all necessary measures to crush any attempt by ‘Taiwan Separatists’ to split Taiwan from the motherland,” Wei said at the meeting, according to a spokesman.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.