US Navy chief does not rule out sending aircraft carrier through Taiwan Strait

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt leads a formation of US and Singapore ships in the South China Sea on April 6, 2018. (Navy Office of Information/AFP)
Updated 18 January 2019
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US Navy chief does not rule out sending aircraft carrier through Taiwan Strait

  • Aircraft carriers, typically equipped with about 80 aircraft and crews of about 5,000, are key to the US military’s ability to project power globally
  • The US Navy continues to pass through waters in the South China Sea that Beijing considers its territory

TOKYO: The US Navy has not ruled out sending an aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait, despite military technology advances by China that pose a greater threat to US warships than ever before, the chief of US naval operations said on Friday.
Washington sent ships through the strategic waterway three times last year as it makes more frequent transits of the strait that separates Taiwan from the Chinese mainland, but it has not dispatched a carrier in more than 10 years.
During that time, China has modernized its forces with missiles designed to strike enemy ships.
“We don’t really see any kind of limitation on whatever type of ship could pass through those waters,” Admiral John Richardson told reporters in the Japanese capital, when asked if more advanced Chinese weapons posed too big a risk.
“We see the Taiwan Strait as another (stretch of) international waters, so that’s why we do the transits.”
Aircraft carriers, typically equipped with about 80 aircraft and crews of about 5,000, are key to the US military’s ability to project power globally.
On Tuesday, a US official told Reuters the United States was closely watching Chinese intentions toward Taiwan as advances in military technology give Beijing’s forces greater capability to occupy an island it considers a breakaway province.
In a report, the US Defense Intelligence Agency called Taiwan the “primary driver” for China’s military modernization.
Richardson, who visited China before traveling to Japan, said he told his Chinese counterparts the United States was opposed to any unilateral action by Beijing or Taipei.
He also urged China to stick to international rules during unplanned naval encounters at sea.
That request came after a Chinese destroyer approached the USS Decatur in October and forced it to change course as it challenged Chinese territorial claims in the contested South China Sea with a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP).
“We have made this very clear that this was an excursion, a departure from the normal adherence to those rules and we would hope that behavior in the future would be much more consistent,” Richardson said.
“We should not see each other as a threatening presence in these waters.”
The US Navy continues to pass through waters in the South China Sea that Beijing considers its territory.
On Jan 7, a US guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 miles of a Chinese-occupied island, prompting Beijing’s rebuke that it had “gravely infringed upon China’s sovereignty.”
China, which claims almost all of the strategic waterway, says its intentions are peaceful. Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have competing claims.


Tesla says investigating incident of parked car exploding in Shanghai

Updated 26 min 7 sec ago
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Tesla says investigating incident of parked car exploding in Shanghai

  • Video shows Tesla S emitting smoke, bursting into flames
  • Incident comes as Tesla is trying to revive its sales in China

SHANGHAI: US electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc. on Monday said it had sent a team to investigate a video on Chinese social media which showed a parked Tesla Model S car exploding.
The video was widely shared on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, with the hashtag “Tesla self-ignites” becoming one of the most-read topics on the platform, being viewed over five million times.
It showed a parked Tesla S starting to emit smoke from its bonnet before exploding and bursting into flames, damaging surrounding cars. A time stamp on the video showed that it occurred on Sunday evening.
Reuters was not immediately able to verify the origins of the video, which Weibo users said was taken in Shanghai.
“After finding out about this incident in Shanghai, we immediately sent a team to the scene. We are currently contacting relevant departments to understand the situation. Based on current information, no one was hurt,” Tesla said on its official Weibo account.
The incident comes as Tesla has been trying to revive its sales in China which have been hit hard by Sino-US trade tensions.
The company currently imports all the cars it sells in China, but it is in the process of building a factory in Shanghai that will manufacture Model 3 cars in the initial phase and help it minimize the impact of the trade war and tariffs.
In March, Tesla also encountered a hiccup when Shanghai customs temporarily clearance for a batch of Tesla’s Model 3 cars citing a labelling issue.