US warships sail through Taiwan Strait

Investigation Bereau Director General Leu Weng-jong

Investigation Bereau Director General Leu Weng-jong

U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Commander Nate Christensen said the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur and the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam took part in the passage operation "in accordance with worldwide law". "The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere worldwide law allows".

MND issued a statement in the evening saying two USA military vessels are going through Taiwan Strait, which is global waters, as a routine operation, but gave no further details about the passage.

Two US warships made a "routine passage" through the Taiwan Strait on Monday, in a move that is sure to ruffle feathers in Beijing as its relations with Washington continue to deteriorate.

The move will likely anger Beijing, which has a territorial claim on Taiwan.

Beijing "expressed its concern to the USA side" as "the Taiwan issue concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity", Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing.

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Hua said Beijing urged Washington to "scrupulously abide by the one-China principle" and "carefully handle the Taiwan-related issues in an appropriate manner".

Two U.S. defense officials told CNN that several Chinese warships followed the Yokosuka-based 7th Fleet ships at a safe distance.

Two U.S. vessels sailed through the Taiwan Strait from waters near Eluanbi, the southern tip of Taiwan island, toward the north on Monday, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said in a statement on its website.

While the USA and China cooperate in denuclearizing North Korea, tensions have increased as both the US and China have engaged in a trade war.

Although the US and most countries consider much of the 110-mile Taiwan Strait to be global waters, sailing there has always been frowned upon by Beijing, which considers Taiwan a province of the mainland, according to Stars and Stripes.

China has also alarmed Taiwan by ramping up military exercises this year, including flying bombers and other military aircraft around the island and sending its aircraft carrier through the narrow Taiwan Strait separating it from Taiwan.

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