A guided-missile cruiser has sailed through the Taiwan Strait just a day after the Chinese military criticized Washington for “adding complexity to regional security” and warned it to stay clear of the island.
The transit of USS Antietam (CG-54) through the narrow waterway “demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the US Navy's Seventh Fleet, said, stressing that the US will continue to conduct their 'freedom of navigation' voyages, which Beijing has repeatedly condemned.
The Chinese military warned the US to stay clear of Taiwan on Wednesday, vowing to use force, if necessary, to prevent any attempts to split the island from the mainland. “The PLA will resolutely defeat anyone attempting to separate Taiwan from China and safeguard national unity at all costs,” the newly released white paper on national defense stressed.
The US is strengthening its Asia-Pacific military alliances and reinforcing military deployment and intervention, adding complexity to regional security
China held military drills off the coast of Taiwan earlier this month after Washington approved a $2.2 billion-plus arms sale to Taiwan. In response, China threatened to impose sanctions against any US companies selling weapons to Taiwan. The tensions around the island also coincided with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's stopovers in the United States on her trip to Caribbean nations.