U.S. Destroyer Transits Taiwan Strait in Signal to Asia Partners
(Bloomberg) -- Two U.S. ships sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Friday in the latest signal of support for the island following questions about Washington’s commitment to its partners in Asia.
This is the eighth time this year that U.S. navy ships have sailed through the strait, according to the Taipei-based Central News Agency.
Taiwan’s defense ministry confirmed the U.S. passage in a text message Saturday, saying the situation in the seas and airspace around the island remained “normal.”
The U.S operation comes amid mounting questions by Beijing and Moscow about Washington’s commitment to allies such as Taiwan in the wake of its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. The U.S. has pushed back against the concerns, insisting it will stand by its partners.
“We believe that our commitments to our allies and partners are sacrosanct and always have been,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said at a press conference in Washington Tuesday. “We believe our commitment to Taiwan and to Israel remains as strong as it’s ever been.”
The Communist leadership in Beijing has been steadily increasing the military pressure on the separately ruled Taiwan, which it claims as part of its territory despite never having controlled it.
Earlier this month, combat ships, anti-submarine aircrafts and fighter jets from China’s People’s Liberation Army conducted live-fire exercises in areas south of Taiwan. The drills were “necessary activity in response to the recent situation in the Taiwan Strait,” and that the repeated collusion between the U.S. and Taiwan had become “the largest source of trouble” for the security and stability in the area, according to a spokesperson for the military.
As well as the U.S., Japan is taking a more active role in pushing back against what decision makers in Washington, Taipei and Tokyo see as an increasingly combative China. Lawmakers from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party held first-of-their-kind security talks with their counterparts in Taipei on Friday. During the talks, Masahisa Sato, chair of the LDP’s foreign affairs committee, told his Taiwanese counterparts it was becoming more important for the two sides to strengthen defense ties.
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