US destroyers test China’s resolve by passing through narrow Taiwan Strait
Sunday - 08/07/2018 04:03
TWO US Navy destroyers have pushed through the narrow, tense waterway separating Taiwan and China in a clear new signal opposing Beijing’s expansionist claims.
CHINA regards the narrow Taiwan Strait to be its own. International conventions — to which it is a signatory — say otherwise. Now the US has pushed two destroyers through the channel in a move bound to inflame tensions with Beijing.
Communist China insists the island is a ‘wayward province’. The Taiwanese are equally adamant that they are the last outpost of China’s valid democratic government.
In fact, the island was a Japanese protectorate before World War II.
The US guided missile destroyers USS Mustin and Benfold undertook the operation Saturday, according to anonymous defence officials speaking to media.
He accused China of breaking a vow by President Xi not to “militarise” its controversial artificial islands. Instead, they’ve been turned into heavily defended, hardened fortresses.
China has also been ramping up international diplomatic pressure over its claims on Taiwan, forcing international airlines to refer to it as part of China.
Beijing has also insisted the US must not increase defence ties or deployments to the island, occupied by the remnants of China’s Republican government in 1949 after the civil war which saw the Communist seize the mainland.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has called for international assistance to resist China’s expansionist behaviour.
“This is not just Taiwan’s challenge, it is a challenge for the region and the world as a whole, because today it’s Taiwan, but tomorrow it may be any other country that will have to face the expansion of China’s influence,” Tsai told AFP. “We need to work together to reaffirm our values of democracy and freedom in order to constrain China and also minimise the expansion of their hegemonic influence.”