US sends two warships through Taiwan Strait, first transit since Pelosi trip

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The guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville made the journey Sunday “through waters where freedoms of navigation and overflight on the high seas apply in accordance with international law,” the US 7th Fleet in Japan said in a statement.

It said the transit was “ongoing” and that there had been “no interference from foreign forces until now”.

“These ships (passed) through a corridor in the strait that lies outside the territorial sea of ​​a coastal state. The passage of the ships through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. States military personnel fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” it said.

The strait is a 180-kilometer stretch of water that separates the democratic, self-ruled island of Taiwan from mainland China.

Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan, despite the fact that the ruling Communist Party of China has never controlled the island — and considers the strait part of its “inland waterways.”

However, the US Navy says most of the strait is in international waters.

The Navy cites an international law that defines territorial waters as a length of 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometers) from a country’s coastline and regularly sends warships through the strait in what it calls freedom of navigation, including recent voyages of the guided missile destroyers USS Benfold and USS Port Royal.

Those transits provoked angry reactions from Beijing.

“The frequent provocations and boasting by the US fully demonstrate that the US is the destroyer of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the creator of security risks in the Taiwan Strait,” Colonel Shi Yi, spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command , said after the transit of the Benfold on July 19.

Pelosi has stepped up military maneuvers in the strait – and the skies above it – following Pelosi’s visit to the island earlier this month.

Within minutes of Pelosi landing in Taiwan on Aug. 2, the PLA announced four days of military exercises in six zones around the island.

The maneuvers include launching ballistic missiles into the waters around Taiwan, numerous Chinese warships steaming in the Taiwan Strait and dozens of PLA fighter jets breaking through the median line — the middle ground between mainland China and Taiwan that Beijing says it doesn’t recognize. , but had largely respected.

Since those exercises officially ended, PLA fighters have continued to cross the median line on a daily basis, mostly in double digits, according to statistics from the Taiwan Ministry of Defense. From Aug. 8, the last of four days of exercises, the night announced Pelosi landed in Taiwan, through Aug. 22, between five and 21 PLA planes crossing the median line each day.

In July, the month before Pelosi’s trip, Chinese warplanes crossed the median line just once, carrying an unspecified number of jets, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry.

In addition, Taiwan reports that between five and fourteen PLA warships have been sighted in the waters around Taiwan.

The PLA’s exercises have continued this week, part of what is normally a busy season for Chinese exercises.

China’s Eastern Theater Command said Friday it had conducted “joint combat readiness security patrols and combat exercises with troops from multiple services and weapons in the waters and airspace” around Taiwan.

That announcement came after U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, became the last member of Congress to visit Taiwan, defying pressure from Beijing and saying, “I won’t go through. communist China are being bullied for my back on the island.”

In tweets Friday morning, the US senator, who does not represent the Biden administration, reiterated her support for Taiwan.

“I will never go to the Chinese Communist Party,” she said in one. “I will stand by the (Taiwanese) and their right to freedom and democracy. Xi Jinping does not scare me,” she added later, referring to the Chinese leader.

Nicholas Burns, the US ambassador to China, told CNN last week that Pelosi’s response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was “an overreaction.”

“We don’t believe there should be a crisis in US-China relations because of the visit – the peaceful visit – of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to Taiwan… it was a manufactured crisis by the Beijing government “, he said. Burns said in an interview from the US Embassy.

It is now “the job of the government here in Beijing to convince the rest of the world that it will act peacefully in the future,” the ambassador said.

“I think there are a lot of concerns around the world that China has now become an agent of instability in the Taiwan Strait and that is in no one’s interest,” he said.

Other US officials had said Washington would not change the way the US military operates in the region.

“We will continue to fly, sail and operate where international law permits, consistent with our longstanding commitment to freedom of navigation, and that includes conducting standard aviation and maritime navigation through the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks,” Kurt Campbell, US President Joe Biden’s coordinator for the Indo-Pacific told reporters at the White House on Aug. 12.

China’s ambassador to Washington Qin Gang said last week that US transits are only adding to tensions.

“I call on US colleagues to exercise restraint and do nothing to escalate tensions,” Qin told reporters in Washington. “If there is anything that damages China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, China will respond.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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