Taiwan Strait: Shipping

Ministry of Defence written question – answered at on 13 September 2023.

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Photo of Daniel Kawczynski Daniel Kawczynski Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to help safeguard passage through the Taiwan Strait.

Photo of James Heappey James Heappey Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)

The UK has a clear interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. We oppose any action which changes the facts on the ground, raises tensions and hinders the chances of peaceful settlement of the disputes. We will therefore continue to encourage open communication and de-escalation. As a P5 country, we have an interest in upholding international law and freedom of navigation. In 2016 the Permanent Court of Arbitration declared that China has no legal basis to claim its "historic" rights in the South China Sea.

Our maritime presence in the region has grown, with the deployment of two Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), HMS SPEY and HMS TAMAR, supporting our persistent presence approach. HMS SPEY last navigated through the Taiwan Strait in January this year and the People's Liberation Army Navy response to her transit was assessed as safe and professional.

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