US warship in the Taiwan Strait, initially under Biden

Taipei | The US Navy said a US military ship crossed the Taiwan Strait on Thursday for the first time since US President Joe Biden was inaugurated last month.

The Seventh Fleet said in a statement that the destroyer USS John McCain had made a “routine” passage through the sea arm between Taiwan and mainland China.

US ships usually use this strait, much to the dismay of Beijing, which considers the island part of its territory.

“China remains vigilant and will respond at all times to threats and provocations,” said Chinese diplomacy spokesman Wang Weinpin Thursday.

Wang told reporters that his country is “closely monitoring the situation.”

The People’s Republic of China considers foreign navigation in these waters a violation of its sovereignty, while the United States and other countries consider this area to belong to international waters, and therefore it is open to all.

The Seventh Fleet said navigation on the aircraft carrier USS John S. McCain “shows America’s commitment to the freedom and openness of the Pacific.”

The US military will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.

The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense confirmed this passage without mentioning the name of the ship in question. He also said that two US reconnaissance and fighter planes flew near Taiwan’s airspace on Monday.

Since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in Taiwan in 2016, from a party Beijing considers traditionally hostile, the People’s Republic of China has intensified its efforts to further isolate the island, through diplomatic, economic, but also military.

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Last year, Chinese military aircraft conducted 380 incursions into the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADES).

Adis is an airspace in which the state wishes to identify and locate aircraft for reasons of national security.

Some experts say tensions between mainland China and Taiwan have been at their highest since the mid-1990s.

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