May 29, 2023

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A US destroyer crosses the Taiwan Strait … and China puts its forces on “high alert”

American Destroyer Milius


Beijing’s military drills around Taiwan are in response to the Taiwanese president’s recent visit to the US.

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On Monday, China confirmed the passage of a US destroyer in the Taiwan Strait and said its forces were on “high alert”. “Our troops will always be on high alert and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security, as well as regional peace and stability,” said Chinese military spokesman Col. Shi Yi.

Earlier, the US Navy announced that its guided-missile destroyer USS Milius had sailed Taiwan Strait Days after China conducted military exercises around the island in Operation Freedom of Navigation.

American Destroyer Milius

In a statement released by the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet, the warship conducted a “routine transit of the Taiwan Strait” in waters Sunday, adding that “higher freedom of navigation and navigation on the high seas apply in accordance with international law.”

China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has vowed to one day take control of the self-governing island.

On April 8, Beijing held three days of military exercises around Taiwan that included simulated target strikes and the imposition of a blockade on the island.

Chinese maneuvers near Taiwan (Archive – France Press)

On Monday, a Seventh Fleet account posted pictures on Twitter of crews overlooking the Taiwan Strait, one of the world’s most important waterways. “The ship passed through the strait outside the territorial waters of any coastal nation,” the Navy statement added, adding that the passage through the strait shows the US’s commitment to a free and open Asia-Pacific region.

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“The U.S. military flies, travels and operates where international law allows,” he added.

Beijing’s military exercises around Taiwan are in response to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s recent visit to the United States, where she was welcomed by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy.

On the final day of maneuvers last week, the destroyer Milius sailed into territorial waters claimed by Beijing in the disputed South China Sea.

Beijing described the move as an illegal intrusion “without the consent of the Chinese government”.

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