Brushing off protests, United States warships sail through Taiwan Strait

Brushing off protests, United States warships sail through Taiwan Strait

Brushing off protests, United States warships sail through Taiwan Strait

Two US Navy warships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence said in a statement Monday.

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

"The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere global law allows", he said.

It broke off relations with the self-ruled island in 2016 when President Tsai Ing-wen, the leader of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, took office in 2016 and refused to accept Beijing's "One China" principle that Taiwan belongs under the mainland's rule. Taiwan late Monday requested that China refrain from interfering in its elections, saying Beijing should should respect and learn from its democracy.

"The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere worldwide law allows", he said.

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The destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur and cruiser USS Antietam were shadowed by Chinese naval vessels as they transited the strait.

The Pentagon says Washington has sold Taiwan more than $15bn in weaponry since 2010.

Taiwan's defence ministry said in an earlier statement the military was "closely monitoring the United States warships during their passage". "Taiwan might talk up its asymmetric warfare capabilities, but without the US, Taiwan would be dead". The Chinese military has sailed its aircraft carrier and accompanying escort ships through the Taiwan Strait and conducted "encirclement" exercises involving fighters, bombers and other military assets throughout the year. "The Secretary reassured Minister Wei that we haven't changed our Taiwan policy, our one China policy", Randall Schriver, a USA assistant secretary of defence who helps guide Pentagon policy in Asia, told reporters traveling with Mattis.

It has also viewed US overtures toward Taiwan with alarm, including its unveiling a new de facto embassy in Taiwan and passage of the Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages USA officials to visit the island. -China relationship continues to be USA support for Taiwan.

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