United States sends two destroyers through Taiwan Strait amid tensions with China

Erika Holt
July 9, 2018

Taiwanese officials said the ships were traveling in worldwide waters.

Taiwan's top China policy planner urged Beijing Sunday not to overreact to the recent passage of two U.S. Navy vessels through the Taiwan Strait and not to blame others for its own actions that have disturbed peace and stability in the region.

In a move that could heighten tensions between Washington and Beijing, two US Navy destroyers have sailed through the Taiwan Strait, a US Navy official has confirmed to CNN.

The last time a US aircraft carrier transited the Taiwan Strait was in 2007, during the administration of George W. Bush, and some USA military officials believe a carrier transit is overdue.

Meanwhile, China welcomed Air India's decision to change Taiwan's name to "Chinese Taipei", stressing that foreign companies operating in the country must obey China's law and respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Although the US does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it is its most powerful ally and top arms supplier.

Taiwan's Defense Ministry had earlier announced the sailing, identifying the two warships by their hull numbers and saying they had entered the southern part of the strait and sailed in a northeasterly direction.

A USA official confirmed that the destroyers USS Mustin and USS Benfold were the two ships that transited through the waterway.

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The Chinese government had no immediately comment.

"Taiwan is a key "core interest" of Beijing and recently we see more strident resistance voiced out in Chinese state media against perceived USA moves to undermine such interest", Koh said.

The passage of U.S. military vessels through the Strait and the USS Ronald Reagan previously patrolling the South China Sea are strategic preventive actions adopted by the USA under its Indo-Pacific strategy, an anonymous source familiar with the matter said.

The move comes as a U.S.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis discussed the delicate issue of Taiwan during his trip to China last month. The U.S. Navy has continued to carry out freedom of navigation passages in global waters close to those islands that have the effect of countering China's territorial claims.

China's hostility toward Taiwan has grown since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen, a member of the island's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.

As a responsible player in the region, Taiwan will continue to deepen cooperation with the US and other like-minded countries to ensure regional peace and stability, it said. "So there'll be no rolling back by China".

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