US Navy mulls sending ships through Taiwan Strait amid high tensions with China
Iran Press TV
Sat Oct 20, 2018 02:47PM
The United States Navy is assessing the launch of a sensitive new operation sending warships through the Taiwan Strait amid heightened tensions with China.
Officials told Reuters on Saturday that US military forces were mulling the idea of sending warships through the Taiwan Strait to guarantee free passage through the key waterway.
The source noted that the move could ratchet up already high tensions with China over trade and relations with self-governing Taiwan.
In July, a pair of the US Navy's guided-missile destroyers passed through the Taiwan Strait.
Chinese media denounced the move as a "psychological game".
According to Reuters, China raised concerns over the US's relationship with Taiwan during talks with Defense Secretary James Mattis in Singapore this week.
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, and almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty under a policy known as "One China."
Chinese officials warned late last month that a State Department-approved sale of F-16 fighter jet spare parts to Taiwan would violate international law and damage US-China relations.
US Assistant Secretary of Defense Randall Schriver told Reuters that Mattis assured his Chinese counterpart that Washington's stance on Taiwan remains unchanged.
"Minister Wei raised Taiwan and concerns about our policy," he said. "The Secretary reassured Minister Wei that we haven't changed our Taiwan policy, our "One China" policy."
Tensions between the US and China in the South China Sea have been on the rise in recent months.
The US Navy is reportedly planning to launch a global show of force to demonstrate its forces readiness for military confrontation, warning adversaries about America's ability to take on enemies on several fronts.
Early this month, a Chinese warship had an "unsafe" encounter with a US destroyer near disputed islands in the South China Sea.
In September, US B-52 bombers flew over the South China Sea and East China Sea, according to US military officials. The US military officials added that the operations were routine and "designed to enhance our readiness and interoperability with our partners and allies in the region."
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