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US Navy warships enter Taiwan Strait amid tension with China

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 Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville.

Two US Navy warships have entered the Taiwan Strait in what is America’s first such naval transit since a controversial visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-declared island increased tension.

The guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville on Sunday made the voyage "through waters where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law," the US 7th Fleet in Japan said in a statement.

"These ships transited through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state," it said, adding, "The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows." 

China has long considered the island as part of its sovereign territory and has publicly stated that it may take it by force one day, if propitious.

This is where the US, and now Europe as well, come in with both having warned China against any thoughts of a takeover, which parallels the conditions prior to the war in Ukraine.

Under the “one China” policy, nearly all countries across the globe, the US included, recognize Beijing’s sovereignty over Chinese Taipei. However, Washington continues to court the secessionist government in Taipei, support its anti-China stance, and supply it with massive amounts of armaments.

The US Navy regularly sends its warships through the strait in what it calls freedom of navigation operations, including recent voyages by the guided missile destroyers USS Benfold and USS Port Royal.

"The frequent provocations and showing-off by the US fully demonstrate that the US is the destroyer of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the creator of security risks in the Taiwan Strait," Col. Shi Yi, spokesman for the People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theater Command, said after the Benfold's transit on July 19.

The latest transit by the US Navy comes following Pelosi's widely criticized visit to the self-ruled island on 2 August.

In response to the visit, China launched a series of drills across six zones surrounding, with Beijing, saying the drills were countermeasures in the face of provocations by the United States and its allies in Taipei.

The exercises have triggered outrage in the US and some other countries in the West.

Also on Thursday, US Senator and Armed Services committees, Marsha Blackburn, became the latest member of the Congress to visit the island. She defended her visit by saying, "I will not be bullied by Communist China into turning my back on the island."

The administration of US President Joe Biden has kept on fanning the flaming tensions between Beijing and Washington by the visits, and has continuously defended the visits by saying that such congressional trips are routine.

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