Beijing has been incensed by US military missions through the narrow strait, most frequently of warships but occasionally of aircraft, saying China “has sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction” over the waterway, according to Reuters.
Taiwan and the United States dispute that, saying it is an international waterway.
The Eastern Theatre Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army said its forces closely monitored the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance plane, which is also used for anti-submarine missions, as it flew through the strait which separates China from Taiwan.
“The US side’s actions deliberately interfered with and disrupted the regional situation and endangered peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. We firmly oppose this,” it said in a short statement.
“Theatre forces remain on high alert at all times and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The US Navy’s 7th Fleet said the aircraft had flown in international airspace and that the United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows including within the Taiwan Strait.
“The aircraft’s transit of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it added in a statement.
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said the aircraft had flown in a southerly direction through the strait.
Taiwan’s forces tracked the aircraft as it flew through the strait, the ministry said, noting the situation was “as normal”.
Washington is Taiwan’s most important international backer and seller of arms despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties, and US support for the island is a constant irritant in Sino-US relations.