China keeps wary vigil as US warships sail through Taiwan Strait – first since House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit

Representational image

Representational image

Photo : PTI

Beijing: For the first time since US Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s controversial visit to Taiwan, two US warships have now ventured into the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese navy on Sunday kept a close watch on the situation as relations between the two nations remain tense. According to official media accounts, over 100 American warships transited through the busy and strategic waterway separating China and Taiwan since 2012.

“The USS Antietam and the USS Chancellorsville, two US guided-missile cruisers, sailed through the Taiwan Strait on August 28 and hyped it up publicly,” the Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said on Sunday. The two ships passed through the same area where the Chinese military had carried out a massive exercise earlier this month, often crossing the median line that separated the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

Pelosi’s visit, the first by a top US official in 25 years, set off a series of US lawmakers visits to Taipei. The US has been conducting similar naval and aerial expeditions in the disputed South China Sea to assert freedom of navigation, countering Beijing’s claims over most of the area.

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After Pelosi’s visit, China had conducted a massive military exercises for several days, even firing missiles over the Taiwan island and sparking concerns that Beijing may be contemplating a military offensive.

While the furore had died down in the ensuing days, Taiwan insists that China still carrying out military activities around the island. Taiwan’s defence ministry said it detected 23 Chinese aircraft and eight Chinese ships operating around Taiwan on Sunday. This included seven Chinese aircraft that crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.