Navy deploys warships through Taiwan Strait for first time since Pelosi visit
Earlier on Sunday, two U.S. warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait, the first naval exercise of its kind since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan earlier this month, angering the Chinese government.
The cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville are making a routine transit through the strait, which normally takes about 12 hours, according to a statement from the Japan-based Navy’s 7th Fleet.
“The passage of this ship through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. U.S. forces fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” the statement said.
China says it closely monitors the ships.
The PLA’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement posted on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site, that the army was “on high alert and ready to thwart any provocation.”
Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan earlier this month angered Beijing, which considers the island a separate Chinese territory and has not ruled out the use of force to bring it under its control.
In 1949, when the civil war between communists and nationalists in China ended with the former’s victory, the latter formed a rival government in Taipei.
Since the 1970s, the United States has only officially recognized Beijing, but it has also become Taiwan’s main arms supplier and international backer.
Taiwan says the People’s Republic of China has never ruled Taiwan and therefore has no sovereignty and that only its 23 million people can decide their future.
In response to Pelosi’s visit, China conducted large-scale military exercises near the island, sending warships through the strait, deploying fighter jets and firing long-range missiles over it.
Post-Congress response is more dovish A delegation led by Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass., and including Rep. John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., and Don Beyer, D-Va., and Representative Amata Coleman Radewagen, R-American Samoa, Visited Taiwan about two weeks later.