US sends guided-missile cruisers through Taiwan Strait, first since Nancy Pelosi’s visit
Amid the military standoff in the Taiwan Strait, the United States, for the first time, sent its warships to the island nation, US 7th Fleet confirmed.
In a first amid the military standoff in the Taiwan Strait triggered by the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, the Biden administration sent its warships to the island nation. According to the statement released by the US 7th Fleet, the guided-missile cruisers — USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville — are conducting a routine transit. The cruisers transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State, it added. Further, it noted that the transit was “ongoing” and no military interference reported so far. Notably, the US Pacific Fleet pointed fingers at Beijing which has been regularly sending its warplanes and warships near the border of Taiwan for the past month.
“These ships are transiting through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state. The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows,” a US Navy spokesperson told The Japan Times. Notably, the 160-kilometre-wide strait divides Taiwan from mainland China.
China warns US against conducting military exercises in the Taiwan Strait
Earlier on August 18, when the United States confirmed its intention to continue military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, China reacted strongly and warned it will respond to the ongoing “US aggression”. Taking to the microblogging site, China’s Ambassador to the US, Qin Gang, urged his American colleagues to refrain from conducting any military exercise with Taiwan and added it would only escalate tension between the two countries.
According to the Chinese diplomat, strategic stability is not only about the military, but also about the political foundation. He compared the relationship between the two countries to a house. “For this house to be firm & stable, we need a solid foundation. The same theory applies to state-to-state relations. So what is the foundation of China-US relations? The one-China principle and the stipulations of three joint communique,” he noted.
US-China tensions deteriorate after Nancy Pelosi’s visit
It is essential to note here that the Chinese government had warned Taiwan of a dramatic situation for allowing US Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Taipei. It sent 27 aircraft to Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) hours after Pelosi’s plane left Taipei after she spent nearly 18 hours on the island claimed by Beijing as its own. Also, China fired “precision missiles” in waters off Taiwan’s coasts as part of military exercises. Meanwhile, the United States called the Chinese action against Taiwan both “irresponsible” and an attempt to change the “status quo”.
After Pelosi, US Senator Marsha Blackburn, who landed in Taipei early on Friday, met with President Tsai Ing-wen in the country’s national capital, Taipei. During the meeting, she affirmed that the Biden administration remains steadfast in preserving freedom around the globe, and added it will not tolerate “efforts to undermine our nation and our allies.”