Published: Tue, October 23, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Navy Sails 2 Ships Through Taiwan Strait in Defiance of China

Navy Sails 2 Ships Through Taiwan Strait in Defiance of China

A guided-missile destroyer and guided-missile cruiser both made the politically sensitive trip, the first such voyage by USA vessels since July.

Two American warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait in a move bound to aggravate China amid heightened tensions with Beijing.

"The ships' transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific", Army Col. Robert Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Monday.

"USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) and USS Antietam (CG 54) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait Transit on October 22, in accordance with worldwide law", Cmdr. "The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere worldwide law allows", he stressed.

The ministry said it was in full control of the situation during the USA warships' journey through the Taiwan Strait, the self-ruled island's defense ministry said in a statement.

Taiwan's foreign ministry declined comment.

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"The Ministry of National Defense pointed out that the U.S. ship routinely passed the worldwide waters of the Taiwan Strait, and the relevant details were explained by the USA government", it added. Rachel McMarr told BI, adding that the goal of the mission was to demonstrate "the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific" and to remind others that "the US Navy will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere worldwide law allows".

While the US and China cooperate in denuclearizing North Korea, tensions have increased as both the USA and China have engaged in a trade war.

Another irritant in the U.S.

Since the U.S. normalized relations with China, its relationship with Taiwan has been an area of recurring friction with Beijing, though Washington has tended to tread carefully. Despite this, Washington has kept informal relations with the island nation after severing diplomatic ties with it in 1979.

Tsai said earlier this month she will maintain the status quo with Beijing, but also vowed to boost Taiwan's national security and said her government would not submit to Chinese suppression.

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