A U.S. warship and a Canadian warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait late last week, the American military said on Sunday, during a time of heightened tension between Beijing and Taipei that has sparked concern internationally.
In response, the Chinese regime on Sunday accused the United States and Canada of threatening peace and stability in the region.
The regime claims the self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has mounted repeated air force missions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the past year.
Beijing sent around 150 aircraft into the zone over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1 in a further heightening of aggression toward Taipei that has sparked concern internationally.
The U.S. military said the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey sailed through the narrow waterway that separates Taiwan from its giant neighbor China along with the Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday.
“Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo–Pacific,” it added.
The Chinese Eastern Theater Command said its forces monitored the ships and “stood guard” throughout their passage.
U.S. Navy ships have been transiting the strait roughly monthly, to the anger of Beijing. U.S. allies occasionally also send ships through the strait, including Britain last month.
While including Taiwanese territorial air space, the ADIZ encompasses a broader area that Taiwan monitors and patrols that acts to give it more time to respond to any threats.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said on Sunday that three Chinese aircraft—two J-16 fighters and an anti-submarine aircraft—flew into the ADIZ again.
The Chinese regime claims the island as its own, despite the fact that Taiwan is a de facto independent country, with its own military, democratically-elected government, and constitution.
NTD staff contributed to this report.