An American warship crossed Wednesday in the Taiwan Strait, announced the US Navy, an operation denounced as a provocation by China, which claims its sovereignty over this arm of the sea.
“The guided-missile destroyer USS Barry conducted a routine operation on October 14 in the Taiwan Strait, in accordance with international law,” according to a statement from the US Fleet in the Pacific.
“The passage of the boat through the Taiwan Strait proves the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” she also assured on her website.
The US Navy has regularly seen warships in recent months in the strait separating mainland China from Taiwan. Operations which always provoke a firm reaction from Beijing.
China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory. The island is ruled by a rival regime which took refuge there after the communists seized power on the mainland in 1949, at the end of the Chinese civil war.
Taiwan has its own flag and currency, but is not recognized as an independent state by the UN. Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 to recognize Beijing, but remains the island’s most powerful ally and its number one arms supplier.
“The United States has recently sent several unwelcome signals to supporters of” Taiwan independence “, seriously compromising peace and stability,” Zhang Chunhui, spokesperson for the Chinese army, responded Thursday.
“We solemnly warn the United States: stop any speech or act causing unrest” in the region, he said in a statement, saying that China “will firmly defend its national sovereignty.”
Beijing regularly threatens to use force in the event of a formal proclamation of independence in Taipei or external intervention, particularly American.
In this context, China considers the passage of foreign ships through the strait as a violation of its sovereignty. On the other hand, the United States sees this arm of the sea as part of international waters and therefore open to all.