U.S. warship sails through Taiwan Strait
WASHINGTON, July 24 (Reuters) – The U.S. military said on Wednesday it sent a Navy warship through the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan from China, a move likely to anger China during a period of tense relations between Washington and Beijing.
Taiwan is among a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols.
China on Wednesday warned that it is ready for war if there was any move toward Taiwan’s independence, accusing the United States of undermining global stability and denouncing its arms sales to the self-ruled island.
The warship sent to the 112-mile-wide (180-km) Taiwan Strait was identified as the Antietam.
“The (ship’s) transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement. “The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” he added.
The voyage risks further raising tensions with China but will likely be viewed by self-ruled Taiwan as a sign of support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing.