China paper denounces US Navy ships' Taiwan Strait passage

Image taken from U.S. Navy's official website

Image taken from U.S. Navy's official website

The Global Times said in an editorial that the USA was adding to tensions by sailing the Japan-based guided missile destroyers USS Mustin and USS Benfold through the 160-kilometer-wide (100-mile-wide) strait that divides Taiwan from mainland China.

In a statement, the ministry said that two USA destroyers, DDG-89 and DDG-65, entered the Taiwan Strait Saturday morning and are continuing their course northeast through the strait, a 160-kilometer-wide body of water separating Taiwan and mainland China.

Charlie Brown, Pacific Fleet spokesman, said sailing through the body of water separating China and Taiwan is routine for the U.S. Navy.

China has also been ramping up global diplomatic pressure over its claims on Taiwan, forcing worldwide airlines to refer to it as part of China. It also implied that Chinese People's Liberation Army-Navy vessels monitored the passage of the USA warships through the strait.

The Global Times newspaper, known for its nationalistic stance, said in an editorial that the US was "sending political signals by sending warships through the Taiwan Strait".

Despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties, Taiwan remains an important American ally in the region, and the Trump administration has sought closer ties between Washington and Taipei.

In its editorial, headlined "U.S. psychological game in Taiwan Strait", the Global Times said that Washington had decided on "a more discreet approach" by sending destroyers and not conducting drills.

The name change came in the wake of letters sent by China's Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) in late April, asking the carrier to designate Taiwan as part of China within 30 days.

The US also continues to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan to aid in its defense as part of the requirements under the Taiwan Relations Act, actions that are met with condemnation from Beijing.

"We must state, the Taiwan issue is related to Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity", Hua told reporters at a regular news briefing in Beijing.

MOFA also urged other countries to resist such intervention by China, which it said is aimed at disrupting the independent operations of foreign companies to achieve its political objectives.

They "contribute to regional peace and stability", he said in response to questions at a farewell press conference, adding, "We will continue to do that in the future". "So there'll be no rolling back by China".

China and Taiwan have been governed separately since the end of the Chinese Civil War almost 70 years ago.

But the warships' entry into the strait comes as Washington and Beijing are locked in a trade war and as tensions escalate between Beijing and Taipei.

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