China has criticized the passage of two U.S. warships through the strategic Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan from mainland China, calling the move a provocation.
On Thursday, the guided-missile destroyers USS John S. McCain and USS Curtis Wilbur passed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, the U.S. Navy said in a statement, claiming the military vessels were conducting a “routine… transit… in accordance with international law.”
Later in the day, a Chinese military spokesman condemned the U.S. transits through the strait, the second such U.S. mission this month and the 13th this year, and warned Washington not to jeopardize peace and stability in the sensitive waterway.
“The move by the U.S. warships has sent a wrong signal to separatist elements who advocate Taiwan independence and seriously endanger peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian told Xinhua.
Beijing has sovereignty over self-governing Taiwan, and under the “One China” policy, almost all countries in the world recognize that sovereignty.
The U.S. also recognizes Chinese sovereignty over the island, but constantly sells arms to it, and eagerly supports its secessionist President Tsai Ing-wen.
Beijing says U.S. contacts with Taiwan and arms sales to the island violate China’s sovereignty.
Wu also condemned Thursday’s sailing by U.S. warships as a “provocation,” adding that Chinese ships and aircraft followed the U.S. vessels.
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is vigilant at all times, responds to all threats and provocations at all times, and resolutely defends national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
Taiwan is one of the most sensitive issues in U.S.-China relations, which include an ongoing U.S.-initiated trade war.
by Basit Abbasi – GN