Beijing is not happy with the route the Dutch naval ship took through the Taiwan Strait

Zr.Ms. Tromp upon departure from Den Helder in March

Noos News

  • Sjoerd den das

    China Correspondent

  • Sjoerd den das

    China Correspondent

Beijing is not happy with the passage of the Dutch naval vessel Zr.Ms. Trump, last week, crossed the Taiwan Strait. “China respects international law,” Mao Ning, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, said in response to NOS’s questions. “However, we strongly oppose jeopardizing China’s sovereignty and security under the guise of freedom of passage.”

In the middle of last week, the ship “Trump” sailed through the Taiwan Strait. The ship was on its way from Hai Phong, Vietnam, to the port of Busan, South Korea. When asked, the Navy spokesman did not say exactly which route the air defense and command frigate sailed and when.

“We are sailing where international law stipulates that freedom of passage is possible,” Tromp captain Yvonne van Bussekom wanted to say before the trip.

It seems that Beijing does not have much difficulty dealing with Trump’s presence in the South China Sea, as evidenced by Mao’s words. “There is no problem with freedom of passage in the South China Sea.”

But the waters between China and Taiwan are more sensitive. “We hope that countries outside the region will not cause trouble or create problems for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Mao said.

Different laws appear to apply to China. Last month, shortly after the inauguration of Taiwan’s new president, William Lai Tseng-te, Beijing conducted a two-day punitive exercise around the island.

It was the largest military operation since China’s show of force following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in 2022. In any case, Beijing is increasing pressure on democratic Taiwan.

“Anyone who dares to separate Taiwan from China will self-destruct,” Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun warned last weekend at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, the region’s most important defense forum. “China remains committed to peaceful reunification. However, this possibility is increasingly eroded by separatists in Taiwan and foreign forces.”

He begs to be beaten

There has so far been little interest in Chinese state media about Trump’s passage. National bloggers have already written about this after the news broke shortly before the weekend. “The Netherlands has delusions because of colonial rule in Taiwan,” one wrote, referring to the year 1624, when the Netherlands set foot in the south of the island.

“Koxinga didn’t hit them hard enough at the time,” one person wrote in response to a news article. It is a reference to the Chinese warlord who eventually expelled the Dutch from Taiwan and put an end to 38 years of colonization. “Now they come back brutally, begging to be beaten again.”

Another blogger believes that the Netherlands “particularly wants to please the United States, as has become clear with lithography machines.” Export restrictions have been in effect since the end of last year, meaning ASML’s most advanced chip machines can no longer be sold to Chinese customers. This also led to a strong reaction from Beijing at the time.

Muscle width

However, the tone China is using toward the Netherlands is still different from the harsh language it typically uses against the Americans, who have sailed through the Taiwan Strait a dozen times in the past year.

“Muscle flexing,” is how Beijing described the latest US corridor. He added that China urges the United States to immediately stop such violations and provocations.

The ship departed De Tromps in March. It helped protect shipping from Houthi attacks in the Red Sea until late April. The frigate then continued its voyage on another round-the-world voyage, eventually returning in September:

Naval ship De Tromps left for the Red Sea: “Farewell remains emotional”

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