Date
22 October 2019
Guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam, seen here in a file picture, is said to have made a voyage through the strategic Taiwan Strait this week. Photo: US Navy handout via Reuters
Guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam, seen here in a file picture, is said to have made a voyage through the strategic Taiwan Strait this week. Photo: US Navy handout via Reuters

US warship sails through Taiwan Strait

The US military said on Wednesday that it sent a Navy warship through the Taiwan Strait, a move aimed at demonstrating Washington’s commitment to freedom of navigation, Reuters reports.

“The (ship’s) transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” a spokesman for the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet was quoted as saying in a statement.

“The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” he added.

The warship sent to the 112-mile-wide Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan from China, was identified as the Antietam.

The voyage risks further raising tensions with China but will likely be viewed by Taiwan as a sign of support from US President Donald Trump’s administration amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing, Reuters noted.

The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide the island with the means to defend itself.

China has been ramping up pressure to assert its sovereignty over the island, which it considers a wayward province of “one China”.

Beijing on Wednesday warned that it is ready for war if there is any move toward Taiwan’s independence, accusing the US of undermining global stability and denouncing its arms sales to the self-ruled island.

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CG/RC