US Warships Sail Through Taiwan Strait Amid Trade War With China

Investigation Bereau Director General Leu Weng-jong

A similar transit by two USA destroyers occurred in July, the first time the Navy had carried out a mission like that in more than a year.

Although the US and most nations consider much of the 110-mile Taiwan Strait to be worldwide waters, transiting there has always been a source of tension for Beijing.

Two U.S. warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait Monday.

The voyage risks further heightening tensions with China, but will likely be viewed in self-ruled Taiwan as a sign of support by President Donald Trump's government, amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing.

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

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China, concerned that United States 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.

Chinese warships shadowed the US Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait Monday, but the Chinese ships remained at a safe distance.

This came after the Chinese military conducted large-scale military exercises in the Taiwan Strait in April.

Last month, after the U.S. authorization of a US$330 million arms sale to Taiwan, China's foreign ministry spokesman said the move "undermines China's sovereignty and security interests", adding that Beijing expressed its "strong dissatisfaction" and "resolute opposition". "Taiwan might talk up its asymmetric warfare capabilities, but without the U.S. Taiwan would be dead". Chinese ships have used force and coercion to prevent access to islands in the region claimed by smaller nations, USA officials have repeatedly said. -China relationship, which also include a bitter trade war, USA sanctions, and China's increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.

China considers Taiwan a province of the mainland and officials have stated over the years that the democratic island's continued self-rule can not continue indefinitely.

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