At least two US ships entered the Taiwan Strait on Friday in what Chinese officials called “provocative,” according to reports.
The ships were the Navy USS Kidd, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, and coast guard Munro, Reuters reported. They traveled “through international waters in accordance with international law, the US Navy said in a statement, according to the news agency.
“The legal transit of ships through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The US military flies, sails and operates wherever international law permits,” the statement continued.
“The US military flies, sails and operates wherever international law permits.”
The presence of the U.S. ships follows Chinese assault exercises held in the region last week, in which the Communist nation’s warships and fighter jets participated in exercises off the southwestern coast and southeastern Taiwan, Stars and Stripes reported.
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The U.S. move also follows a visit to Southeast Asia by Vice President Kamala Harris, who visited Singapore and Vietnam, in part to convey support for U.S. Asian allies. in their handling of China’s influence in the region. Harris returned to Washington on Friday.
U.S. support for Taiwan included the State Department’s approval earlier this month of 40 self-propelled howitzers destined for Taiwan, Stars and Stripes reported.
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The US military has carried out similar operations in the region about once a month, with China denouncing “acts of provocation,” Reuters reported.
“The United States has frequently committed similar acts of provocation, which are of a very bad nature, fully showing that they are the greatest destroyer of peace and stability and the greatest cause of security risks in the United States. Taiwan Strait, ”said Tan Kefei, a Chinese advocate. ministry spokesman said in a statement, according to Reuters. “We strongly oppose it and strongly condemn it.”
The Chinese official’s statement also affirmed Beijing’s position regarding Taiwan.
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“Taiwan is an inseparable part of China,” Kefei said. “The Taiwan question is an internal Chinese affair and does not allow any outside interference. We call on the United States to recognize the situation, stop the provocations, and adhere to the one-China principle and the provisions of the three Sino-US joint communiques.
During his trip to Asia, Harris accused China of “intimidation and excessive maritime claims,” Reuters reported.
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