Two US Navy warships have entered the Taiwan Strait, this is the first such transit since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit after which China carried out unprecedented military drills around the island. The USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville were making their voyage “through waters where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with the international law,” the US 7th Fleet in Japan said in a statement earlier, according to ANI.
“These ships (are transiting) through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state. The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows,” the statement added.
According to an AP report, China conducted military exercises in the strait as it sought to punish Taiwan after Pelosi’s visit despite Beijing’s threats. China has sent several warships sailing in the Taiwan strait after Pelosi’s visit as well as sending warplanes and firing long-range missiles.
Taiwan and China are divided by a 110-mile strait, Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan despite China’s ruling Communist Party never having controlled the island, it considers the strait part of its “internal waters.”
Meanwhile, the US Navy said that most of the strait is in international waters.
After the visit of US Senator Marsha Blackburn to Taiwan on Friday, China commenced military drills in the seas and airspace around the self-governed island, ANI reported.
According to information released by the Taiwan region’s defence authority, eight PLA Navy vessels and 35 PLA aircraft were detected around the island on Friday, with 18 of the detected aircraft (SU-30, J-11, J-16, and J-10) having flown on the east part of the median line of the Taiwan Straits and the island’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ), reported ANI.
“The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) organized a multi-service and arms joint combat-readiness patrol and realistic combat exercise in the seas and airspace around the island of Taiwan,” the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) announced hours after.
US Senator Marsha Blackburn met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, discussing issues like regional security and semiconductor supply chains during a three-day visit.