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First US warship under Biden sails through Taiwan Strait

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows the American Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain.

An American warship has passed through the strategically-sensitive Taiwan Strait, which separates self-ruled Taiwan from mainland China, the US navy says, the first such provocative voyage since US President Joe Biden assumed office last month.

On Thursday, the US military’s Seventh Fleet said in a statement that “the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) "had sailed through the waterway earlier in the day in what it claimed was a “routine transit in accordance with international law.”

American warships periodically carry out such voyages through the strait, often drawing angry responses from China, which has sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan.

Under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty.

The US, too, recognizes Chinese sovereignty over the island, but in an attempted affront to China and in violation of its own official policy, America constantly sells weapons to the island, bypassing Beijing, and avidly backs its secessionist president Tsai Ing-wen, besides the deployment of military vessels to the Taiwan Strait.

Beijing, which has repeatedly warned the US against official ties with Taiwan, says the US contacts with Taiwan and the weapon sales to the island are a violation of China’s sovereignty.

The Chinese government said on Thursday that Beijing was “closely monitoring” the situation in the region.

China would “continue to be on high alert at all times, respond to all threats and provocations at any moment, and will resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.

Early into his presidency, Biden has displayed his willingness to continue America’s typically hostile posture toward China, including by challenging Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan and in areas in the South and East China Seas, where some regional countries dispute Chinese territorial claims.

The White House has already underscored support for Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan through multiple calls and statements in just one week after the new president’s inauguration, signaling Washington’s rejection of China’s territorial claims in the East and South China Seas.

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