Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Two US warships move into Taiwan Strait

Two US warships move into Taiwan Strait

The Taiwanese defense ministry said in a statement the two ships, the USS Mustin and USS Benfold, entered the waterway Saturday morning, AFP reported. A White House statement described Beijing's action as "Orwellian nonsense" and said "China's efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted".

China on Monday urged the United States to avoid actions that endanger peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait after two USA warships sailed through the waters, a voyage likely seen in self-ruled Taiwan as a sign of Washington's support.

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.

Both destroyers are based in Japan.

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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 last time a U.S. aircraft carrier passed through the Taiwan Strait was when the USS Kitty Hawk transited it in 2007.

The USS Ronald Reagan did not take part in the manoeuvre. It was the first visit by a defence chief in four years. Instead, they've been turned into heavily defended, hardened fortresses.

Beijing is perceived as sensitive to U.S. military vessels traveling through the strait and continues to lay claim to Taiwan, a self-governed, democratic island, which it views as a breakaway province.

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Beijing suspects Tsai wants to push for formal independence, which would cross a red line for Communist Party leaders in China, although Tsai has said she wants to maintain the status quo and is committed to ensuring peace.

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

The objective is to support China's campaign of diplomatic isolation against Taiwan, which includes frequent and increasingly shrill reminders that America can not save the Taiwanese from China's wrath if they pursue an independent course.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen has called for worldwide assistance to resist China's expansionist behaviour. "We need to work together to reaffirm our values of democracy and freedom in order to constrain China and also minimise the expansion of their hegemonic influence".

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