The operation, planned for a “long time”, demonstrates Washington’s commitment to a “free and open Indo-Pacific”
Tension rises across the Taiwan Strait. After the visit of the spokeswoman for the United States Congress, Nancy Pelosi, to Taipei at the beginning of the month, China marked its chest and its Army violated the sovereignty of the island to rehearse step by step how to invade it. Last Monday another North American delegation headed by the Republican governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb, traveled to Taipei. Now Washington’s presence has been elevated.
Two US Navy warships are sailing through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday. “The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) are conducting a routine transit through waters where the freedoms of navigation and overflight on the high seas apply in accordance with the law international”, underlines in a statement the US Seventh Fleet, the largest in the country. The transit of both ships occurs through a corridor “that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State.”
Washington, which on more than one occasion has claimed to be willing to support Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese invasion, explains in the letter that these actions “demonstrate the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.” A White House spokesman, John Kirby, has stated on CNN that this “long-planned” operation “sends a very clear message: the US Navy will sail, fly and operate wherever international law he allows it”.
It should be noted that the American giant regularly sends ships to this region. In that sense, in October 2018, in April 2019 and in December 2020, it moved two ships on each occasion, according to the ‘Japan Times’ newspaper.
Watch out for provocations
The action has not gone unnoticed in the Asian region. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “is following and warning US ships throughout their journey and is aware of all their movements,” said its spokesman, Shi Yi. “The troops of the (Eastern) section remain on high alert and are ready at all times to thwart any provocation.”
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, for its part, has confirmed that a pair of warships sailed from north to south through the canal. “During its tour, our armed forces are monitoring all relevant movements in our maritime and air space, and the situation is normal.”
The climate of tension in the Asian region thus increases, a few weeks after Pelosi’s landing on the island, for which Beijing announced four days of military exercises in six areas surrounding Taiwanese territory. These maneuvers included the launching of ballistic missiles, as well as numerous warships and fighter jets that breached the line between Taiwan and mainland China.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.