TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – The US military said it sent two Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, its latest transit through the sensitive waterway and a move likely to anger Beijing at a time of tense relations between the world’s two biggest economies.
The voyage will be viewed by Taiwan as a sign of support from the Trump administration amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing.
The transit was carried out by the destroyer Preble and the Navy oil tanker Walter S. Diehl, a US military spokesman told Reuters.
“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement.
Doss said all interactions were safe and professional.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the two US ships had sailed north through the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan’s armed forces monitored the transit and nothing out of the ordinary happened, it added.
There was no immediate reaction from China.
US warships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait at least once a month since the start of this year. The United States restarted such missions on a regular basis last July.
The Pentagon says Washington has sold Taipei more than $15 billion in weaponry since 2010.
China has been ramping up pressure to assert its sovereignty over the island, which it considers a wayward province of “one China” and sacred Chinese territory, to be brought under Beijing’s control by force if needed.
Beijing said a recent Taiwan Strait passage by a French warship was illegal.