by WorldTribune Staff, July 9, 2018
The United States on July 7 sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait in a move that follows a series of Chinese military drills around Taiwan that have stoked tensions between Beijing and Taipei.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the guided-missile destroyers USS Mustin and USS Benfold carried out the passage.
“Two U.S. Navy ships conducted a routine transit through the international waters of the Taiwan Strait on July 7-8 (local time),” Capt. Charlie Brown, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Fleet, told Reuters in a statement.
The passage, the first by a U.S. Navy ship through the Taiwan Strait in about a year, occurred amid China’s ramping up of military exercises, including flying bombers and other military aircraft around Taiwan, and sending its own aircraft carrier through the narrow strait.
Related: China again sends aircraft carrier through Taiwan Strait, March 21, 2018
Reuters reported last month that the U.S. was considering sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait and had examined plans for an aircraft carrier passage. The last time a U.S. aircraft carrier transited the Taiwan Strait was in 2007.
The Global Times, a state-controlled Chinese newspaper, said in an editorial published on July 8 that China should remain calm and not be swayed by what it called the “psychological tactics” of the United States.