US warships cross the Taiwan Strait; China says troops are on ‘high alert’

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The United States sent two warships to the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, the first such operation since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei earlier this month sparked tensions.

While the U.S. Navy said the missile cruisers were on “routine” transit and traversed international waters, the Chinese military said it was following the warships and its troops would “maintain readiness.” maximum alert”, ready to “counteract any provocation”. .”

The Taiwan Ministry of Defense, monitoring the situation, said Eight Chinese military vessels and 23 aircraft were detected in the area on Sunday.

Taiwan says military drills show China preparing to invade

The USS Chancellorsville and USS Antietam, part of the 7th Fleet, “passed through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of ​​any coastal state,” the US Navy said in a statement. . statement.

“The ship’s transit 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.

Taiwan, which is separated from China by approximately 100 mile strait, home to 23 million people. Beijing considers the democratically governed island as its territory.

The Chinese military criticized the United States for “publicizing” the operation “publicly”. Shi Yi, senior colonel and spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement that the Chinese military was conducting “security monitoring and surveillance of the passage of US warships along the route and controlling all movements of the two US warships”.

The United States and other nations have periodically crossed the strait in the past, drawing harsh responses from China, although such crossings have not taken place as China has conducted military exercises in the waterway after the visit of Pelosi (D-California).

China launches military drills around Taiwan after Pelosi visit

In a editorial for the Washington Post, Pelosi said his visit was to honor promises to “stand by Taiwan”, calling it an “island of resilience”. The United States has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan and has long maintained a policy of strategic ambiguity on the extent of its assistance, deliberately blurring what it would do if Taiwan came under military attack.

Senator Blackburn calls Taiwan a ‘country’ during meeting with Tsai

Days before Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, Chinese leader Xi Jinping asked President Biden to prevent the visit, according to White House officials. But Biden told Xi he couldn’t, despite concerns from US defense and other officials about the trip’s potential repercussions.

Since Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, other US lawmakers have followed suit, including Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). In a tweet, she called Taiwan is a “free and independent nation” and called it a “country” when she met Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen last week.

In another show of support, the United States and Taiwan also announcement this month, they would begin formal trade talks together in the fall.

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