China reprimands US for sending warships through Taiwan strait

28-Jan-2019 Intellasia | ABC | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The United States has sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait in the first such operation this year, the Taiwanese government said, as it increases the frequency of transits through the strategic waterway amid tensions with China.

US Pacific Fleet spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Tim Gorman told CNN USS McCampbell and USNS Water S Diehl “conducted a routine Taiwan Strait Transit” under international law.

The voyage risks further heightening tensions with China, which considers Taiwan its own and has not ruled out the use of force to bring the self-ruled island under its control.

The USNS Walter S Diehl is pictured on a clear day at sea in calm waters.

 (ABC)

(ABC)

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said in a statement late on Thursday the ships were moving in a northerly direction and that their voyage was in accordance with regulations.

It said Taiwan closely monitored the operation to “ensure the security of the seas and regional stability”.

The move will likely be viewed in Taiwan as a sign of support from US President Donald Trump’s government amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing.

China has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016.

It has regularly sent military aircraft and ships to circle the island on drills in the past few years.

Beijing sent several bombers and aircraft through the Bashi Channel, which separates Taiwan from the Philippines, earlier on Thursday, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said in a separate statement.

A similar Chinese operation was conducted on Tuesday, the ministry said, and both were monitored closely.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-25/us-navy-sends-two-warships-through-taiwan-strait/10752080

 


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