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Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Two US destroyers sail into Taiwan Strait: Taiwan gov't

Two US destroyers sail into Taiwan Strait: Taiwan gov't

Charlie Brown, Pacific Fleet spokesman, said sailing through the body of water separating China and Taiwan is routine for the U.S. Navy.

Taiwan, which has grown closer to the USA under the Trump administration, said that its military "is monitoring the situation in neighbouring areas, and has the confidence and abilities to maintain regional stability and defend national security".

The Chinese government had no immediate comment.

The United States has previously deployed a nuclear carrier, the USS Nimitz, to the Taiwan Strait in 1996, after China warned the Taiwanese electorate against voting for Lee Teng-hui in the presidential election by launching missiles near Taiwan. In 2007, a USA aircraft carrier sailed through the strait on its way to home port in Japan, a route Washington described then as a safety move due to weather.

USA support for Taiwan is evident, as the United States continues to sell it military weapons even though it does not have diplomatic relations with the province. Beijing's pressure campaign on Taipei has also extended to other countries and even the private sector.

The US also continues to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan to aid in its defense as part of the requirements under the Taiwan Relations Act, actions that are met with condemnation from Beijing.

Another irritant in the U.S.

The move comes as a U.S.

Collin Koh, a specialist in regional naval affairs at Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said the warships' transit was likely a message from the USA that it continues to support Taiwan. Reuters news service reported last month that Washington had examined plans for an aircraft carrier passage once this year, but ultimately did not pursue them, perhaps because of concerns about upsetting China.

Since April, China has reached to 44 foreign air carriers, asking them to designate Taiwan as part of China.

Koh also said the move was unlikely to be a one-off, adding that Beijing would continue to apply pressure on Taipei.

The two U.S. warships sailed through the strait while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Pyongyang meeting senior North Korean leaders. "So there'll be no rolling back by China".

The article continued: "Increased trade tensions between Beijing and Washington and Tsai Ing-wen administration's constant provocations have put further strain on the cross-Straits situation. We won't accept that", Liu said.

The national airline is the latest to fall in line with China's demands to drop references to Taiwan as a separate entity.

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