US warship sails through Taiwan Strait days after China drills

A US warship sailed through the waters separating Taiwan and mainland China, the US Navy said, days after Beijing staged war games around the self-ruled island.

Led by the United States, multiple Western navies regularly conduct "freedom of navigation operations" to assert the international status of regional waterways such as the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.

The USS Milius guided-missile destroyer "conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit April 16 (local time) through waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law", the US Navy said in a statement.

"The ship transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State."

This was the first such US operation through the waterway since January.

The US 7th Fleet shared images Monday on Twitter of crew looking out into the strait, one of the most crucial waterways in the world for international shipping.

China said on Monday it had tracked a US warship through the Taiwan Strait, adding that the United States had "hyped up" the transit.

Colonel Shi Yi, a Chinese military spokesman, said troops in the area "remain on a high level of alert at all times and will resolutely defend national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability".

China claims Taiwan as its territory and has vowed to bring the island under its control one day. It also claims the entire Taiwan Strait as its territorial waters.

Taiwan's defence ministry said on Monday that during the vessel's transit, its military had "closely monitored the dynamics in our surrounding sea and airspace, and the situation was normal." 

China launched three days of military...

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