U.S. destroyers sail through Taiwan Strait

Clay Curtis
July 9, 2018

As a responsible member of the global community, Taiwan will continue to work to maintain the "status quo" with China and to ensure peace, prosperity and development in the Asia-Pacific region, it said.

Two U.S. warships have passed through the Taiwan Strait, the first since July past year, in a move likely to be seen in Beijing as a show of support for Taipei by Washington.

The ministry in a news release said that the Republic of China Navy monitored the passage of the two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in accordance with regulations.

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.

The move comes amid a trade war between the USA and China and escalating tensions between Taiwan and China, which has warned that it will defend - by force if necessary - its "One China" principle under which the self-ruling island is seen as part of China's own territory, awaiting reunification.

Another irritant in the U.S.

The destroyers USS Mustin and USS Benfold sailed into the waterway separating Taiwan and China on Saturday morning, Taiwan's defence ministry confirmed.

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The passage through the Taiwan Strait, the first such one by a U.S. Navy ship in about a year, follows a series of Chinese military drills around the island that have stoked tensions between Taipei and Beijing.

USA support for Taiwan is evident, as the Unites States continues to sell it military weapons even though it does not have diplomatic relations with the province.

U.S. Marines usually guard missions in countries with which Washington has formal diplomatic ties.

Beijing has cut off official contacts with Taiwan since Tsai took office because the Tsai administration rejects the "1992 consensus" that provided the foundation for cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan's previous government under the Kuomintang.

A growing number of worldwide airlines and companies were also forced to change Taiwan's name to "Taiwan, China" or "Chinese Taipei" due to pressure from Beijing. The U.S. Navy has continued to carry out freedom of navigation passages in worldwide waters close to those islands that have the effect of countering China's territorial claims.

China's hostility toward Taiwan has grown since Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won presidential elections on the island in 2016. "And Taiwan is surely a litmus test for (Chinese President) Xi Jinping's repeated exhortation to protect China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity".

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