UPDATED 6:23 AM PT — Tues. Oct. 23, 2018
Two U.S. warships recently cruised through highly contested waters between Taiwan and China amid tension with Beijing.
The USS Antietam and USS Curtis Wilbur sailed north through the Taiwan Strait Monday.
In a follow up statement, the Navy explained the exercise was done in accordance with international law and is necessary for keeping the Indo-Pacific region “free and open.”
China’s foreign ministry has since responded, “expressing concern” at the presence of U.S. warships in the strait.
“China monitored the entire progress of the U.S. warships passing through the Taiwan Strait, and has already expressed serious concern to the United States about this,” stated Chinese Foreign Minister Hua Chunying. “The Taiwan issue concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and is the most important and most sensitive issue in U.S.-China relations.”
Chinese security experts blasted the move by saying it suggests Washington would stand by Taiwan in case of a crisis with China.