US warship sails in Taiwan Strait after China war games

A US warship has sailed through the Taiwan Strait in what the US navy called a “routine” transit, days after China ended its latest war games around the island.

China, which views Taiwan as its own territory, last Monday officially ended three days of exercises around Taiwan where it practised precision strikes and blockading the island.

It staged the drills to express anger at Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, viewing it as an interference in China’s internal affairs and US support for Taiwan’s separate identity from China.

The US navy said the guided-missile destroyer USS Milius conducted a “routine Taiwan Strait transit” on Sunday through waters “where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law”.

The ship’s transit demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, it added.

The US navy sails warships through the strait around once a month, and also regularly conducts similar freedom of navigation missions in the disputed South China Sea.

Last week, the USS Milius sailed near one of the most important man-made and Chinese controlled islands in the South China Sea, Mischief Reef. Beijing denounced it as illegal.

China has continued its military activities around Taiwan since the drills ended, though on a reduced scale.

On Monday morning, Taiwan’s defence ministry said it spotted 18 Chinese military aircraft and four naval vessels operating around Taiwan in the previous 24 hour period.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring democratically governed Taiwan under its control.

Taiwan’s government rejects China’s territorial claims, and says only the island’s people can decide their future.

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