News ID: 240613
Published: 0818 GMT March 25, 2019

US Navy ships pass through Taiwan Strait amid tensions with China

US Navy ships pass through Taiwan Strait amid tensions with China

The US Navy has sent two ships through the strategic Taiwan Strait, in a move that is likely to aggravate Washington’s already-high tensions with China, which views the self-ruled island as part of its territory.

According to a US military statement, the naval destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur and the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf sailed through the strait in “a routine transit” on Sunday.

The US -- like almost all world countries -- recognizes Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan under the “One China” policy, but it has long courted Taipei in an attempt to counter Beijing, Press TV reported.

China has not yet reacted to the US Navy’s latest transit through the waterway, but it usually responds with anger to such moves and urges Washington to respect the “One China” policy.

On the contrary, Taipei views such US military measures as a sign of support amid its tensions with mainland China.

The island’s Defense Ministry said it monitored the US ships, which passed through the Taiwan Strait from the southwest and proceeded in a northerly direction. Nothing unusual was observed and there was no cause for alarm, it added.

The developments come as Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, who is on a tour of diplomatic allies in the Pacific, will stop over in the US state of Hawaii on her way home this week.

The US, however, claimed her stopover would be “private and unofficial.”

Washington has no formal diplomatic relations with Taipei by law, but remains the island’s largest weapons supplier and an international backer of the Tsai government. According to the Pentagon, Washington has sold Taiwan more than $15 billion in weaponry since 2010.

China, which has long suspected that Tsai wants to push for formal independence, regularly warns that Taiwan is the most sensitive issue in its ties with Washington. Other sticking points in Beijing-Washington ties include a trade war as well as China’s territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea.

Last year, US President Donald Trump signed legislation, known as the Taiwan Travel Act, into law, which allows high-level Taiwanese officials to enter America “under respectful conditions” to meet with US officials, while American officials from all levels would be allowed to travel to the island to meet their Taiwanese counterparts.

The Tsai government has lost several allies since she took office in 2016. The West African state of Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Panam and El Salvador are among those who cut ties with Taipei and established relations with Beijing instead.

Chinese President Xi Jinxing warned earlier this year the use of force would remain an option for Beijing to bring Taiwan back under Chinese control.

Security Key:
Captcha refresh
Page Generated in 2/3729 sec