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Navy Sails 2 Ships Through Taiwan Strait in Defiance of China

uss curtis wilbur
USS Curtis Wilbur arrives at Qingdao port on Sept. 13, 2005. (Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 22 October 2018 02:10 PM

The U.S. Navy sailed two ships through the Taiwan Strait on Monday amid ongoing tensions over freedom of navigation and political strains over trade with China, Stars and Stripes has reported.

“USS Curtis Wilbur and USS Antietam conducted a routine Taiwan Strait Transit on October 22, in accordance with international law,” Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Fleet, told CNN.

"The ships' transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific."

Two U.S. defense officials told CNN that several Chinese warships followed the Yokosuka-based 7th Fleet ships at a safe distance.

Although the U.S. and most countries consider much of the 110-mile Taiwan Strait to be international waters, sailing there has long been frowned upon by Beijing, which considers Taiwan a province of the mainland, according to Stars and Stripes.

The issue of Taiwan was raised in a meeting last week between US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Wei Fenghe, after which Mattis said "China's militarization of the South China Sea and aggressive action in international waters destabilizes the region and threatens shared efforts to promote security," according to CNN.

Mattis added that "the U.S. will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, and we encourage all nations to confidently exercise their right to do the same.”

In July, the Navy sent two 7th Fleet destroyers into the straits for what Pacific Fleet officials described as a “routine transit,” the first time it had done so since July 2017.

This came after the Chinese military conducted large-scale military exercises in the Taiwan Strait in April.

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The U.S. Navy sailed two ships through the Taiwan Strait on Monday amid ongoing tensions over freedom of navigation and political strains over trade with China.
navy ship, taiwan, china
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2018-10-22
Monday, 22 October 2018 02:10 PM
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