Two US warships are currently passing through the Taiwan Strait, amid ongoing military tensions between China and Taiwan, the US Navy has announced.
It is the first time US warships will engage in Maritime operations since tensions between Taiwan and China escalated following a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan earlier this month.
China reacted to the visit by holding large-scale military drills in the Taiwanese strait claiming to be instigated by the interference of the US in internal Chinese affairs.
Beijing views such actions as provocative and maintains that the island of Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory even though China has never ruled Taiwan in 70 years.
The US Navy said in a statement on Sunday, August 28 that the transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrated the “United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific”.
“These ships transited through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state,” the statement added.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said the ships were sailing in a southerly direction and that its forces were observing, but that “the situation was as normal”.
On Sunday, the Chinese military responded saying it was monitoring the two vessels’ progress, maintaining a high alert, and was ready to defeat any provocation, Reuters news agency reports.