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China slams ‘provocative’ passage of US warship 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 US Navy said guided-missile destroyer the USS Curtis Wilbur conducted a “routine Taiwan Strait transit”. (Photo by AFP)

China has denounced the “provocative” passage of the US destroyer Ralph Johnson through the strategically-sensitive Taiwan Strait, which separates the self-ruled island from mainland China.

A Chinese military spokesperson said in a statement on Saturday that the sail-through was a "very dangerous" act and sent the "wrong signals."

“Troops are organized to monitor the Ralph Johnson's passage,” he added.

On Saturday, China’s President Xi Jinping warned his American counterpart, Joe Biden, that improper handling of the thorny issue of the Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) would negatively impact the already strained relations between their countries.

“Some individuals in the United States are sending the wrong signals to pro-independence forces in Taiwan, and that's very dangerous,” Xi told Biden on a video call on Friday, according to Chinese media.

China sees Taiwan as the most sensitive and important issue in its relations with the United States. Under the "One China policy", virtually all countries of the world recognize the Chinese sovereignty over the self-ruled island. Washington pays lip service to that policy, but it has turned into Taiwan's main international backer and arms supplier. 

American warships periodically embark on provocative voyages through the strategically-sensitive Taiwan Strait, drawing angry responses from China. 

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.

Relations between the US and China have grown tense in recent years, with the world’s two largest economies clashing over a range of issues, including trade, Taiwan, Hong Kong, military activities in the South China Sea, and the origins of the new coronavirus.

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