Two US warships transit through Taiwan Strait for the first time since Pelosi’s visit

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Two US warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday for the first time after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan which triggered a massive military exercise by China near the island.

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The US Seventh Fleet, in a statement, said: “The US Navy’s USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville are conducting a routine Taiwan Strait transit August 28 (local time) through waters where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law.”

“These ships transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State,” the Seventh Fleet added while asserting that “the ship’s 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.”

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The development comes as US Senator Marsha Blackburn visited Taiwan this week. Blackburn is the fourth American politician to visit Taiwan this month even as tensions between the United States and China have soared over Taiwan. US Senator Ed Markey had visited Taiwan shortly after Pelosi’s visit when China was conducting its military exercise earlier this month.

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In a stern message to China after meeting President Tsai Ing-wen, Blackburn said: “We will not be bullied” and added that the “US will not tolerate efforts to undermine our nation and our allies.”

China sent warships, missiles and fighter planes close to Taiwan as reports claimed some ballistic missiles came close to the island.

China considers Taiwan as a breakaway province and has threatened to take it by force, if necessary. China sent a record number of warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence zone last year as Taipei recorded 969 incursions by Chinese warplanes in 2021.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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