Friday, 22 February, 2019

U.S. warships pass through Taiwan Strait amid heightened tensions with Beijing

Image taken from Pixabay Image taken from Pixabay
Melinda Barton | 09 July, 2018, 02:28

"U.S. Navy ships transit between the South China Sea and East China Sea via the Taiwan Strait and have done so for many years", Brown told The Japan Times.

"U.S. Navy Ships transit between the South China Sea and East China Sea via the Taiwan Strait and have done so for many years", Brown said.

China has also been angered over recent warming relations between the USA and Taiwan, after Trump signed legislation paving the way for mutual visits by top American officials and the US government green-lighted a license required to sell cutting-edge submarine technology to Taipei.

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

"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 Global Times, a state-controlled Chinese newspaper, said in an editorial published on Sunday that China should remain calm and not be swayed by what it called the psychological tactics of the United States.

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.

U.S. Marines usually guard missions in countries with which Washington has formal diplomatic ties. -China trade fight is seen as dragging on for a potentially prolonged period, as the world's two biggest economies flex their muscles with no sign of negotiations to ease tensions.

The name change came in the wake of letters sent by China's Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) in late April, asking the carrier to designate Taiwan as part of China within 30 days.

As far as is known, US Navy ships last crossed the Strait under then-US president George W. Bush in 2007, when the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk and its battle group sailed through the waterway.

USA overtures towards Taiwan, from unveiling a new de facto embassy to passing the Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages US officials to visit, have further escalated tension between Beijing and Taipei. The move, which several news outlets have reported, comes amid increasing strain between the Trump administration and China over trade, North Korea and the South China Sea.

The US also continues to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan to aid in its defense as part of the requirements under the Taiwan Relations Act, actions that are met with condemnation from Beijing.

China has boosted its own military presence in the region, sailing its own aircraft carrier through the strait in January.