The U.S. Navy sailed through international waters in the Taiwan Strait on Sunday with a destroyer ship, leading China to denounce the move as a threat to its national security.
The USS Milius transited a part of the Taiwan Strait “beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state,” according to the U.S. 7th Fleet.
“Milius’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the fleet said in a statement. “The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the U.S. sent the ship through the Taiwan Strait “to flex muscles,” which he said “poses a threat to China’s sovereignty and security and undermines regional peace and stability.”
“China urges the US to immediately end such moves of violation and provocation and stop causing troubles for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he said at a Monday press briefing.
The naval action comes about a week after the USS Milius, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer vessel, also sailed near Chinese artificial naval bases near the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
Tensions in the Indo-Pacific are high following three days of Chinese naval and air drills over Taiwan earlier this month, which Beijing ordered after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen met with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in California.
China sees Taiwan as historically part of the mainland after those fleeing a 1949 communist takeover in Beijing established the Republic of China opposition government on the island.
The U.S. recognizes Taiwan as part of China but maintains informal ties with the nation.
Washington has warned that China is bent on reclaiming Taiwan, by force if necessary, and has increasingly sought to support Taiwanese independence through arms sales, diplomatic ties and financial support.
American forces are also building up a presence in the Indo-Pacific, recently announcing more bases in the Philippines and a deal with Australia that includes increased U.S. and British submarine visits in the country.
Source : The Hill