Two American warships in Taiwan Strait, China says its monitoring the movementtext_fields
Taiwan: Two US navy warships moved through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday. The American navy in a statement said that it is the first such transit since China staged unprecedented military drills around the island.
Tension in the region has been rising since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei earlier this month. China had condemned the visit and accused the US of trying to stir up problems in the region.
The warships are in the Strait to demonstrate the United States' commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, reported AFP.
The USS Antietam and the USS Chancellorsville conducted a routine transit through waters where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law. These ships transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State, said the US navy.
The US 7th Fleet is based in Japan. It is an important part of the US's presence in the Pacific. The attempts to promote the concept that those seas are international waterways have received furious responses from Beijing.
Washington also said that Pelosi's visit was a pretext for military exercises.
Beijing responded to Pelosi's visit by staging days of air and sea exercises around Taiwan. Taipei expressed concerns over the drills and said they are preparing for an invasion. China has been claiming that Taiwan is its territory and refuses to recognise it as an independent nation.
Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic island has been under constant threat of invasion as China has declared that it will seize the small island one day, by force if necessary. Several nations including the US diplomatically recognise the One China policy but maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Washinton has publicly expressed support for Taiwan's right to decide its future.
The US has said while it has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, it is bound to provide protection by law. Taiwan has said that China has never ruled the island and has no claim to it.
China on Sunday said that it is monitoring the activity of US navy vessels in the Taiwan Strait. Beijing is maintaining high alert and is ready to defeat any provocations, said an official statement.