A Naval Message for China

Two U.S. Navy warships sail through Taiwan Strait

China said Tuesday it has expressed concern to the United States over what it considered an affront to its sovereignty after two USA warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait.

"The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere worldwide law allows", he said.

Two US warships made a "routine passage" through the Taiwan Strait on Monday, in a move that is sure to ruffle feathers in Beijing as its relations with Washington continue to deteriorate. This year is the first time since then that both the US and Taiwan have done so.

Two US warships have reportedly passed through the Taiwan Strait, a move that will likely be viewed by Beijing as yet another escalation amid Washington's ongoing operation to impose freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. "The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere worldwide law allows".

Taiwan's defence ministry said in an earlier statement the military was "closely monitoring the U.S. warships during their passage".

There was no immediate comment from China.

Two U.S. vessels sailed through the Taiwan Strait from waters near Eluanbi, the southern tip of Taiwan island, toward the north on Monday, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said in a statement on its website.

In July, the Navy sent the 7th Fleet destroyers USS Mustin and USS Benfold into the straits for what Pacific Fleet officials described as a "routine transit".

It raised concerns over U.S. policy toward Taiwan in talks earlier with U.S. Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis, in Singapore.

Mr Mattis delivered that message to China's Defence Minister Wei Fenghe personally on October18, on the sidelines of an Asian security forum. "The Taiwan issue concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and is the most important and most sensitive issue in U.S".

Taiwan is only one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.

While the US and China cooperate in denuclearizing North Korea, tensions have increased as both the USA and China have engaged in a trade war. Since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen from a pro-independence party in 2016, Beijing has cut off formal communication with Taipei and stepped up military exercises in the area. Taiwan receives support and defense funding from the United States in line with a 1979 bilateral agreement. Chinese ships have used force and coercion to prevent access to islands in the region claimed by smaller nations, USA officials have repeatedly said. It has carried out numerous military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, and persuaded several nations to switch diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China.

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