Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Navy Sails 2 Ships Through Taiwan Strait in Defiance of China

Investigation Bereau Director General Leu Weng-jong Investigation Bereau Director General Leu Weng-jong
Jeannette Daniel | 22 October, 2018, 22:29

Two U.S. Navy warships sailed through the global waters of the Taiwan Strait on Monday, the body of water separating China and Taiwan, the island nation that China considers a breakaway province.

The transit could increase tensions between the USA and China as both countries are involved in a trade dispute and as the US voices concerns over China's militarization of the South China Sea.

"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 pair of U.S. Navy warships conducted "a routine Taiwan Strait transit in accordance with worldwide law", Pacific Fleet spokesperson Lt. j.g.

The USS Antietam, a guided missile cruiser, and the USS Curtis Wilbur, a guided missile destroyer, traveled through the strait Monday, sailing from south to north, the US Navy said, confirming earlier reports from Taiwan's Defense Ministry.

"The ships' transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the USA commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific", he added.

More news: Rooney fires DC United into MLS play-offs

The U.S. Navy's latest challenge to China comes just a few weeks after a showdown in the South China Sea, in which a Chinese destroyer almost collided with a U.S. Navy warship during an "unsafe" encounter following a routine freedom-of-navigation operation near the contested Spratly Islands.

Although the USA and most countries consider much of the 110-mile Taiwan Strait to be global waters, sailing there has always been frowned upon by Beijing, which considers Taiwan a province of the mainland, according to Stars and Stripes.

Two U.S. defense officials told CNN that several Chinese warships followed the Yokosuka-based 7th Fleet ships at a safe distance.

The United States, along with many other countries, does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation and officially sticks to the "One China" policy. Despite this, Washington has kept informal relations with the island nation after severing diplomatic ties with it in 1979.

Beijing perceives Taiwan as a breakaway province and has threatened to take military action if Taiwan attempts to declare independence.

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