US, Canadian warships carry out Taiwan Strait transit

WASHINGTON – A US Navy warship and a Canadian frigate carried out a routine transit of the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday, the US military said.

In recent years, US warships, and on occasion those from allied nations such as Britain and Canada, have routinely sailed through the strait, drawing the ire of China, which claims Taiwan over the objections of the island’s democratically elected government.

In a statement, the US Navy said its Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer Higgins and the Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigate Vancouver conducted the transit through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state.

“Cooperation like this represents the centrepiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region,” the Navy statement added.

A visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August enraged China, which regards the island as a breakaway province awaiting reunification with the mainland, by force if necessary. Taiwan‘s government strongly rejects China’s sovereignty claims.

China subsequently launched military drills near the island, which have continued.

The narrow Taiwan Strait has been a frequent source of military tension since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the communists, who established the People’s Republic of China. REUTERS