Beijing announced today, Thursday, April 25, 2019, that a French ship entered Chinese territorial waters earlier this month without prior authorization.
Chinese authorities have stated that their warships intercepted a French navy vessel in early April in the Taiwan Strait, adding that they had made a solemn protest in Paris.
According to Sputnik, it was the spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Defence, Ren Guoqiang, who told the press: “The French ship entered Chinese territorial waters without authorization”, refraining from identifying itself by giving the name of the French ship.
“The Chinese army sent warships in accordance with the law to identify the French ship and order it to leave,” added the spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Defence.
In this regard, the AFP reported that the French frigate Vendémiaire, who was scheduled to participate this week in Qingdao, on China’s east coast, in a naval parade for the 70th anniversary of the Chinese navy, ultimately did not go there.
And the French government would not have provided any explanation for this change in programme.
But following the protests in Beijing, France invoked “freedom of navigation and the law of the sea” on Thursday 25 April.
Elements of the French Ministry of Defence also informed Reuters that the French authorities were “in close contact with the Chinese authorities regarding the incident mentioned this morning by the spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Defence”.
China considers Taiwan as part of its territory, which it categorically rejects. Tensions between Beijing and Taipei have increased since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office. Indeed, since its election in 2016, Beijing has carried out several military patrols around the island, to which Taipei has responded by strengthening the presence of its armed forces.