US Navy sails warships through Taiwan Strait

US warships pass through Taiwan Strait amid China tensions

US warships pass through Taiwan Strait amid China tensions

Although the island has been a self-governing nation since 1949, China has continually looked upon Taiwan as a wayward province needing to be brought back into the fold.

A similar Chinese operation was conducted on Tuesday, the ministry said, and both were monitored closely.

The United States Navy has sent a warship through the Taiwan Strait, the U.S. Pacific Fleet told The Japan Times, as military and trade tensions continue to fester between Beijing and Washington.

It was the first reported transit of USA warships through the Taiwan Strait this year, and the fourth such passage since October, when trade conflict between the world's two largest economies reached new heights.

"But when others use the passageway and say or do something provocative - or even threaten the safety and comfort of the family - how would you feel?"

USA media reported that the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell and the USNS Walter S. Diehl "conducted a routine Taiwan Strait Transit" on Thursday. It has regularly sent military aircraft and ships to circle the island on drills in the past few years.

Although the waterway is regarded as worldwide waters, China has always been sensitive about the presence of USA military forces there.

"The [Taiwan] military is in full control of the waters around Taiwan and its skies every day", Chen said, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency.

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Taiwan's American F-16 and ageing French-made Mirage fighter jets are being increasingly called upon to respond to military movements from China, with some analysts warning the fleet is getting worn down and lacking crucial spare parts.

Currently, only 17 countries recognise Taiwan, and as a effect they do not have any official relations with Beijing.

Since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen from a pro-independence party in 2016, Beijing has cut off formal communication with Taipei and stepped up military exercises in the area. US President, Donald Trump, recently signed an accord reaffirming Washington's commitment to Taiwan, including arms sales.

At that press conference, Geng called the Taiwan issue "the most important and sensitive issue in the China-US relations", according to the transcript.

But Shi and Zhu agreed that the two sides would want to avoid anything that increased the risk of war. "We can stay up in the air for up to 12 hours", he said.

"The more intense the confrontation, the more careful they are".

"We already expressed our concerns to the USA side", she said.

"China has closely observed the situation of U.S. warships passing through the Taiwan Strait, and has voiced its concerns to the U.S.", China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing on Friday. "The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere global law allows", Gorman added.

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