USA warships sail through Taiwan Strait as China tensions surge

USA warships sail through Taiwan Strait as China tensions surge

Kerry Wise
October 24, 2018

The U.S. Navy sailed two warships through the Taiwan Strait for the second time since July, a show of force that threatens to further exacerbate tensions with China.

"USS Curtis Wilbur and USS Antietam conducted a routine Taiwan Strait Transit on October 22, in accordance with worldwide law", Cmdr.

The U.S. Navy conducted a similar mission in the strait's global waters in July, which had been the first such voyage in about a year. Nate Christensen, deputy spokesman for the U.S.

Another irritant in the U.S.

Chinese security experts blasted the move by saying it suggests Washington would stand by Taiwan in case of a crisis with China.

China expressed concerns to the US after a similar transit by two USA warships in July.

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US Pacific Fleet spokesman Commander Nate Christensen said that the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur and the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam took part in the passage operation "in accordance with global law".

Mattis added that "the USA will fly, sail, and operate wherever worldwide law allows, and we encourage all nations to confidently exercise their right to do the same".

Taiwan's defence ministry had said in an earlier statement that the military was "closely monitoring the U.S. warships during their passage".

As the United States prepared for a fresh passage through the strait, it told China's military that its overall policy toward Taiwan was unchanged. -China relationship, which also include a bitter trade war, US sanctions, and China's increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea. The U.S. acknowledges China's stance but provides Taiwan with defense equipment and opposes reunification by force.

Taiwan's relations with China have deteriorated since the island's President Tsai Ing-wen from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party swept to power in 2016.

China, concerned that U.S. military actions around Taiwan will embolden pro-independence factions on the self-ruled island, has bolstered its military presence in the area this past year. The U.S. continues to sell military weapons to the island nation even though it does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.