The US Navy said its Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur had conducted a “routine transit” on Tuesday in the sensitive waterway that separates Chinese Taipei from mainland China. “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said the Navy in a statement.
The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command denounced the transit, saying Chinese forces monitored the vessel throughout its passage and warned it.
“The US side is intentionally playing the same old tricks and creating trouble and disrupting things in the Taiwan Strait,” it said.
This “fully shows that the United States is the greatest creator of risks for regional security, and we are resolutely opposed to this,” it added.
The defense ministry of the self-ruled island said the ship had sailed in a northerly direction through the strait and the “situation was normal.”
The US Navy has been conducting such operations in the Taiwan Strait every month or so. It sent the same warship through the strait a month ago. China condemned the move back then, saying that the US was threatening peace and stability in the region.
Under the internationally-recognized “One China” policy, nearly all countries recognize China’s sovereignty over self-ruled Chinese Taipei. But the island’s current president, Tsai Ing-wen, has separatist ambitions. She has been overseeing a revamp of the island’s military, rolling out new equipment such as “carrier killer” stealth corvettes.
Meanwhile, the US, which backs the secessionist president, continues to sell weapons to the island in defiance of Beijing and in violation of its own official policy.
Beijing condemns the expanding US ties with Chinese Taipei and its weapons sales to the island territory as a violation of China’s sovereignty.
The island remains China’s most sensitive territorial issue and a major bone of contention with Washington.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has taken a hostile posture against China, including over Chinese Taipei. Biden dispatched a delegation to the self-ruled island earlier this year, to “signal” his “personal” commitment to the secessionist government there.