On Sunday, a US Navy cruiser traveled through the disputed seas dividing Taiwan and mainland China, only days after Beijing wrapped up a week-long war exercise surrounding the self-ruled, autonomous island.
The transit of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) by the US 7th Fleet was described as regular. According to the statement, the vessel “transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State.”
The passage of Milius across the Taiwan Strait underlines the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The US military can fly, sail, and operate everywhere international law allows.
This was the first such operation by the United States via the canal since January.
According to a statement from the Eastern Theater Command's spokesperson Shi Yilu, China's ruling Communist Party protested the US transit as “public hype,” before asserting that the Eastern Theater Command was ready at any time to “resolutely safeguard the country's sovereignty, safety, and regional peace and stability.”
China completed large-scale air and sea operations in the area last week in retaliation for Taiwan President Tsai Ing-meeting wen's with US President Donald Trump. According to Breitbart News, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is in California.
China claimed the drills simulating an encirclement of Taiwan were meant to send a “strong warning” to Taiwan's self-governing government and their international allies.
After a civil war, Taiwan and mainland China divided in 1949, with the former declaring independence immediately.
China claims the island is compelled to rejoin the mainland, by force if necessary, but Taiwan claims freedom and democracy have triumphed over Communist rule and refuses to capitulate.
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