A US warship reportedly sailed through the sensitive strait of Taiwan for the second time in a month, the US and Taiwan confirmed. This comes amid heightened tension between China and Taiwan with the former irked by increasing US support for Taiwan. China has, since long, claimed authority over the island nation but Taiwan has repeatedly claimed sovereignty and independence.
On April 24, Taiwan’s defence ministry reportedly said that the US warship travelled through the narrow strait of Taiwan, that separates the island from China, in southernly direction adding that it continued to sail south. Though the ministry did not provide details of the ship, it added that the ship was monitored by Taiwan's armed forces and was on an “ordinary mission”.
However, a US Seventh Fleet spokesman, Lieutenant Anthony Junco revealed that the ship was a guided-missile destroyer 'USS Barry' which was conducting a “routine Taiwan Strait transit” complying with the international law. Speaking at a news briefing, he added, “the ship's transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.”
Two weeks ago, the USS Barry ship sailed through the strait, the same day that Chinese fighter jets took part in a drill close to Taiwan. In recent times, Chinese drills and movements close to the island nation have increased. On April 23, Taiwan claimed that a Chinese aircraft carrier had sailed to its south through the Bashi canal and was continuing east.
Apart from the rising drills, China and Taiwan have quarrelled on other issues as well. Taiwan recently slammed the World Health Organisation, however, China showed an objection to it. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Spokesperson said that while Taiwan's participation was important in the WHO, it must be arranged via cross-consultation with China under its 'One-China' policy. China stated that any responsible country will ascertain facts before jumping to conclusions about the novel Coronavirus.
Representative Image: AP