US Navy sends two more ships through Taiwan Strait amid friction with China

Source: The Hill | May 23, 2019 | Tal Axelrod

The U.S. Navy on Wednesday sent two ships through the Taiwan Strait, marking its latest trip through the disputed waterway in a move likely to anger China as Washington and Beijing ratchet up tensions in their prolonged trade war. 

A military spokesperson told Reuters that the voyage was carried out by the destroyer Preble and the Navy oil tanker Walter S. Diehl.

“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement. 

Taiwan has long been one of several flashpoints in the relationship between the U.S. and China, which have included economic disputes, sanctions and Chinese military activity in the South China Sea, where the U.S. also sends naval patrols. The news comes as the world’s two largest economies have slapped millions of dollars of tit-for-tat tariffs on each other in an escalating trade war.

The move could be interpreted by Taiwan, a self-ruled island that China insists is part of its territory, as a sign of support from Washington.

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