American Destroyers Crosses the Taiwan Strait

The United States announced that a US destroyer crossed the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday in a “routine mission”, while China, which asserted its sovereignty over the entire sea lane, quickly condemned this step as a “provocation.”

The spokeswoman for the US Seventh Fleet, Captain Ryan Momsen, said that the USS Parry, on October 14, carried out a routine mission in the Taiwan Strait, in accordance with international law.

“The ship’s crossing the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States to make the Indian and Pacific Oceans free and open,” she added in a statement.

The US Navy regularly conducts operations to ensure “freedom of navigation” in the strait separating China and Taiwan, something that has always angered Beijing.

China considers the island of Taiwan an integral part of its territory, and therefore it considers any foreign ship crossing the strait separating mainland China from Taiwan Island as a violation of its sovereignty.

However, Washington and many capitals consider this sea corridor part of international waters, which means that navigation in it is open to all.

Chinese military spokesman Zhang Shunhui said, “The United States has recently sent several inappropriate signals to” Taiwan independence “supporters that seriously threaten peace and stability.

In a statement, he added, “We formally warn the United States by saying: Stop any statements or actions that lead to unrest” in the region, stressing that China “will firmly defend its national sovereignty.”

The crossing of the US destroyer came at a time when US-Chinese relations are dominated by severe tensions and military, commercial and political differences.

The US Navy regularly carries out operations near Taiwan and in the South China Sea, to affirm the freedom of navigation in this region and to question China’s sovereignty over large parts of it.

The United States cut diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979 and recognized Beijing’s sovereignty over the island. Nevertheless, Washington remains a major ally and major arms supplier to Taipei, and is even obligated by Congress to sell the island weapons to ensure its ability to defend itself.

Relations between Taipei and Washington improved further under US President Donald Trump, while his country’s relations with China deteriorated.

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