The U.S. Navy on Monday sailed two ships through the Taiwan Strait in the latest show of U.S. military power to China, which has increased its own military drills over Taiwan.
Reuters reported that the destroyer Stethem and Navy cargo and ammunition ship Cesar Chavez sailed through the 112-mile-wide waterway that separates China from Taiwan — considered by Beijing to be a breakaway province.
“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement.
The move, the second of its kind this year, is viewed as a show of support for Taiwan, which sees itself as a sovereign state with its own democratic government.
Washington does not maintain full diplomatic ties with Taiwan due to its acknowledgment of One-China Policy but helps defend the island nation and is its main supplier of weapons — selling Taiwan more than $15 billion in arms since 2010, according to Reuters.
The U.S. movement also comes as China has recently upped its pressure against Taiwan, flying aircraft over the island and holding nearby live-fire drills.
It’s unclear whether the show of military strength will affect current trade talks between Washington and Beijing.
President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Milley warns of 'Sputnik moment' for China WSJ publishes letter from Trump continuing to allege voter fraud in PA Oath Keeper who was at Capitol on Jan. 6 runs for New Jersey State Assembly MORE on Monday said the United States and China are “very, very close” to an agreement to end trade dispute that has lasted months, with each side levying billions of dollars in tariffs on the other.