The US sends two warships by the Taiwan Strait, the primary transit because the Pelosi journey

The guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville made the voyage Sunday “through waters where freedom of deep sea navigation and overflights apply in accordance with international law,” the U.S. 7th Fleet in Japan said in a statement.

It said the transit was “underway” and that there had been “no interference from foreign forces to date”.

“These ships[pass]through a corridor in the straits that lies beyond the territorial sea of ​​a coastal state. The ships’ passage through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails and operates wherever international law permits,” it said.

The Straits is a 180-kilometer stretch of water that separates the democratic, self-governing island of Taiwan from mainland China.

Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan, though China’s ruling Communist Party has never controlled the island – and considers the strait part of its “internal waters”.

However, the US Navy says most of the strait is in international waters.

The Navy, citing an international law that defines territorial waters as 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometers) from a country’s coast, regularly sends its warships through the Straits in what it describes as free shipping, including recent voyages by the guided missile destroyers USS Benfold and USS PortRoyal.The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville.

These transits sparked angry reactions from Beijing.

“The frequent provocations and bragging by the US clearly shows that the US is the destroyer of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the creator of security risks in the Taiwan Strait,” said Col. Shi Yi, spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command, said after the transit the Benfold on July 19th.

Beijing has stepped up military maneuvers in the straits – and in the skies above – following Pelosi’s visit to the island earlier this month.

Within minutes of Pelosi landing in Taiwan on August 2, the PLA announced four-day military drills in six zones around the island.

The maneuvers included launching ballistic missiles into waters around Taiwan, scores of Chinese warships steaming in the Taiwan Strait, and dozens of PLA fighter jets breaching the center line — the midpoint between mainland China and Taiwan that Beijing says it does not recognized but largely respected.

Since those drills officially ended, PLA fighter jets have continued to cross the center line on a daily basis, usually in double digits, according to statistics from Taiwan’s Defense Ministry. From August 8, the last of the four drilling days announced the night Pelosi landed in Taiwan, through August 22, between five and 21 PLA aircraft crossed the centerline each day.

In July, the month before Pelosi’s trip, Chinese warplanes crossed the centerline just once with an unspecified number of jets, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry.

In addition, Taiwan reports that between five and 14 PLA warships have been seen in the waters around Taiwan.

The PLA exercises continued this week, part of what is usually a busy season for Chinese exercises.

China’s Eastern Theater Command said on Friday it had been conducting “joint security patrols for combat readiness and combat training exercises involving troops of various services and weapons in the waters and airspace” around Taiwan.

That announcement came after U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, became the youngest member of Congress to visit Taiwan and resisted pressure from Beijing to return to the island.”

In tweets Friday morning, the US Senator, who does not represent the Biden administration, reiterated her support for Taiwan.

“I will never bow to the Chinese Communist Party,” she said in one. “I will continue to stand up for the (Taiwanese) and their right to freedom and democracy. Xi Jinping doesn’t scare me,” she later added, referring to China’s leader.

Nicholas Burns, the US ambassador to China, told CNN last week that Beijing’s reaction to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was “an overreaction”.

“We do not believe that there should be a crisis in US-China relations because of the visit — the peaceful visit — of the Speaker of the House to Taiwan…it was a crisis created by the Beijing government,” Burns said in an interview with the US Embassy.

It is now “the task of the government here in Beijing to convince the rest of the world that it will act peacefully in the future,” said the ambassador.

“I think there’s a lot of global concern that China has now become an agent of instability in the Taiwan Strait, and that’s not in anyone’s interest,” he said.

Other US officials had said Washington would not change the way the US military operates in the region.

“We will continue to fly, sail and operate where international law permits, consistent with our longstanding commitment to freedom of navigation, and that includes conducting standard air and sea transit through the Taiwan Straits in the next few.” weeks,” Kurt Campbell, U.S. President Joe Biden’s coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, told reporters Aug. 12 at the White House.

Chinese Ambassador to Washington Qin Gang said last week that US transits are only increasing tensions.

“I urge American colleagues to exercise restraint and do nothing to escalate tensions,” Qin told reporters in Washington. “If there is a move that damages China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, China will respond.”

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