Two U.S. Navy warships sail through Taiwan Strait

Clay Curtis
October 23, 2018

Although the US and most nations consider much of the 110-mile Taiwan Strait to be global waters, transiting there has always been a source of tension for Beijing.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed Monday evening that two US warships are moving northward from Eluanbi through Taiwan Strait on October 22.

"USS Curtis Wilbur and USS Antietam conducted a routine Taiwan Strait Transit on October 22, in accordance with global law", Cmdr.

The USS Curtis Wilbur and USS Antietam conducted a routine transit on Monday to demonstrate US commitment "to a free and open Indo-Pacific", Commander Nate Christensen, deputy spokesman for US Pacific Fleet, said in a statement.

Tsai said earlier this month she will maintain the status quo with Beijing, but also vowed to boost Taiwan's national security and said her government would not submit to Chinese suppression.

"The Ministry of National Defense said today that two United States ships have sailed from the south to the north through the Taiwan Strait", said a translation of the statement.

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Trump was the first president since Jimmy Carter to directly speak with the Taiwanese leader, and past year, the US Congress passed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act which authorized naval cooperation between the US and Taiwanese militaries.

Since the United States normalized relations with China, its relationship with Taiwan has been an area of recurring friction with Beijing, though Washington has tended to tread carefully.

Beijing recently conducted a series of military manoeuvres, including a live fire exercise in the Taiwan Strait in April, declaring its willingness to confront Taiwan's "independence forces". Since that time, China has rapidly modernized its naval forces and begun its own carrier program.

The ships' passage through the strait demonstrates "the USA commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific", Cmdr.

Taiwan's defence ministry confirmed the transit saying "US ships routinely passed the global waters of the Taiwan Strait". The transit was the first since July 2017.

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