China declares it is ready to defeat any provocation as two US Navy warships navigate through international waters in Taiwan Strait.
It is just weeks after US House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited region, the highest-ranking elected US representative to visit the region in over 25 years.
Since 1949, when the government of the Republic of China was defeated and fled to Taiwan after a civil war with communists, the narrow strait has been a source of tension for military purposes.
The US Navy confirmed the operation by stating that the cruisers Chancellorsville & Antietam “transited through a corridor within the strait which is beyond any territorial sea of any coast state”.
The crossing of the Taiwan Strait (100-mile-wide, 160km-wide), which separates Taiwan from China takes between eight and 12 hours.
This operation is a demonstration of America’s commitment towards a free and open Indo-Pacific. The navy said that the US military can fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law permits.
In recent years, Canada and the UK have been among other countries to send ships through Taiwan Strait.
China’s military stated that it was monitoring US naval movements and is ready to “thwart every provocation” and that its troops were “remaining on high alert”.
Taiwan’s defense ministry stated that the two US vessels were heading south and that it was observing. However, “the situation was normal”.
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Mrs Pelosi visited Taiwan in August. Five other US legislators also visited Taiwan .
China’s military responded to the threat by conducting more exercises close to the island. They also sent warplanes to the island and fired long-range missiles.
This month, three more US dignitaries visited the country.
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President Joe Biden has tried to keep tensions between Washington and Beijing at bay by reiterating that congressional visits are routine.
Although the US does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, it is required by law to give the island the necessary resources to defend itself.
Taiwan is home of 23 million people and has never been under Chinese rule. China regards Taiwan as part of its territory.