China has censured the latest passage of a US warship through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, saying such moves “deliberately” impair regional peace and stability.
"The United States frequently carries out such provocative actions, sending wrong signals to 'Taiwan independence' forces, and deliberately undermining the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait. We firmly oppose it," the Chinese military's Eastern Theater Command said in a statement on Wednesday.
It added that its forces monitored and warned off the American warship.
The US Navy declared on Tuesday that its guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson had conducted what it claimed was a "routine Taiwan Strait transit in accordance with international law."
US naval forces have been conducting such maneuvers near Chinese waters about once a month, irking Beijing, which considers the sailings as a sign of support for the self-governed island territory of Chinese Taipei, which is the sovereign territory of China.
US 7th Fleet spokesperson Nicholas Lingo said in a statement that the American military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allowed.
"The ship's transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States' commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific," he added, repeating the self-serving US claim often used to carry out military maneuvers in regions far away from American territory.
The latest sail of the US warship through the strait came after China conducted military drills around Chinese Taipei earlier this month, coinciding with what Beijing slammed as a "provocative" visit to the island by a US Congressional delegation.
China has repeatedly warned the US against formal ties with the self-ruled Chinese Taipei, also saying that the sale of American weapons to the island violates China's sovereignty.
Under the "One China" policy, nearly all countries across the globe recognize Beijing's sovereignty over Chinese Taipei, including the United States, which has no formal diplomatic ties with the territory but continues to support its anti-China stance and supply it with massive amounts of armaments.
Earlier, a senior US government official refused to rule out military action against the South Pacific nation of Solomon Islands if it allowed China to establish a military base in the country.