US warships pass through Taiwan Strait

US warships pass through Taiwan Strait
© Getty

U.S. Navy ships sailed through the Strait of Taiwan this week in a show of U.S. military might in the region amid growing tensions between China and the island state.

Reuters reports that Taiwan's defense ministry released a statement late Thursday, explaining that its forces had monitored the operation to "ensure the security of the seas and regional stability."

ADVERTISEMENT

The move is seen as a show of support for Taiwan's government, which does not maintain full diplomatic ties with the U.S. due to its One-China Policy, as Beijing has not ruled out taking over the small island with military force if Taiwan declares formal independence.

China, likewise, released a statement urging the Trump administration to abide by its own "One China" policy, according to Reuters, which declares Beijing the rightful seat of power in China. Taiwan's policy is similar in nature, declaring that the country will not pursue full diplomatic ties with nations that recognize Beijing and the People's Republic of China.

The operation undertaken by U.S. Navy ships this week is the first of its kind this year, while China regularly conducts its own military exercises near the region. Those Chinese operations stepped up in 2016, Reuters reports, upon the election of a Taiwanese president from the country's pro-independence party.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen issued a fiery statement earlier this month declaring that the country would "never" accept Chinese rule under the terms offered by Beijing so far.

"I want to reiterate that Taiwan will never accept 'one country, two systems.' The vast majority of Taiwanese public opinion also resolutely opposes 'one country, two systems,' and this is also the 'Taiwan consensus,'" Tsai said, adding that Beijing's officials should "face squarely the reality of the existence of the Republic of China on Taiwan."