The US Navy sailed a guided-missile destroyer through the highly sensitive Taiwan Strait as the Sino-US relations hit nadir amid coronavirus pandemic. The US Pacific Fleet shared the images of USS McCampbell transiting through the narrow strait that separates the self-governing island from mainland China.
Taiwan strait is a disputed zone as China as the self-governing island republic considers itself as sovereign while China claims the province as Beijing’s territory under its one-China policy. US Navy’s decision to sail through the strait a week before the inauguration of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen for another term in office can further heighten the tension as Beijing considers Ing-Wen as a separatist.
In recent months, China and the United States have increased their military activities near Taiwan which the later calls “ordinary mission”. The strait has been witnessing regular US sailings as Washington has emerged as a strong supporter of Taiwan’s inclusion on international platforms.
In February, Taiwan’s air force had intercepted Chinese jets flying around the island and its Defence Ministry denounced the move as a threat to regional peace and stability. Taiwan's Defence Ministry, in a statement, said that Chinese J-11 fighters and H-6 bombers flew into the Bashi Channel and then headed back to its base.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) lashed out at Beijing after the combat aircraft flew close to Taiwan. According to the Ministry, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen urged China to deal with coronavirus instead of threatening a country militarily. Taking to Twitter, the Ministry taunted that H-6 bombers can not destroy coronavirus.
In December last year, China sailed its newly commissioned aircraft career into the Taiwan Strait on to flex its muscle in the region. Calling it a military threat, the MFA tweeted about the incident and said that Taiwan is determined to defend itself against such looming danger.