Two US warships move into Taiwan Strait


In a move that could heighten tensions between Washington and Beijing, two US Navy destroyers have sailed through the Taiwan Strait, a US Navy official has confirmed to CNN.

Earlier on Saturday, Taiwan's Defense Ministry said the ships were moving in a northeastern direction, adding that the situation was in accordance with regulations.

The Chinese Communist Party-affiliated newspaper on Monday condemned the passage of a pair of U.S. Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait as a "psychological game" amid the showdown over trade and relations with Taiwan.

China sees self-ruling democratic Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified, by force if necessary, but the island regards itself as a sovereign country.

Those include the opening of a new office complex for the American Institute in Taiwan, which operates as Washington's de facto embassy on the island in the absence of formal diplomatic ties that were cut when the USA switched recognition to China in 1949. The Chinese military also recently conducted large-scale military exercises that analysts saw as a warning over growing ties between the United States and Taiwan. The move is considered the first U.S. naval activity in the area since July past year.

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On April 25, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) ordered 34 airlines to describe Taiwan as part of China on their websites and in their promotional materials.

Despite the lack of diplomatic relations, the US remains Taiwan's chief global ally and American law requires the government to respond to threats to the island.

China has also been angered over recent warming relations between the US and Taiwan, after Trump signed legislation paving the way for mutual visits by top American officials and the USA government green-lighted a license required to sell cutting-edge submarine technology to Taipei.

Liu said that Taiwan should refrain from abetting the playing the Taiwan card because that would not be in the interests of people on both sides of the strait.

"These days, Taiwan has been under quite a bit of pressure from China- the snatching of multiple countries from Taiwan's already paltry pool of formal diplomatic allies within a short span of time, regular aerial and naval 'island patrols, ' even cyberattacks on the island", Koh said.