WORLD

US sails warship through Taiwan Strait after China’s drills

Apr 16, 2023, 8:36 PM | Updated: 9:42 pm

In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks ab...

In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks about recent Chinese military drills in Taipei, Taiwan on Tuesday, April 11, 2023. Tsai has condemned China's military drills in the Taiwan Strait, saying Tuesday that China did not demonstrate the "responsible" behavior of a major Asian nation. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — The United States Navy has sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait in its first known transit since China carried out an encirclement exercise around self-ruled Taiwan.

The U.S. 7th Fleet said the transit through the strait by the USS Milius on Sunday was routine. The cruisers “transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State,” the statement said.

Last week China concluded large-scale air and sea drills in the strait in retaliation for Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen meeting with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on April 5 in California. China said Wednesday that the exercises simulating an encirclement of Taiwan were intended as a “serious warning” to pro-independence politicians on the self-governing island and their foreign supporters.

China protested the transit Monday, saying the U.S. transit was a “public hype” and that the Eastern Theater Command was ready at any time to “resolutely safeguard the country’s sovereignty, safety, and regional peace and stability,” according to a statement from the Eastern Theater Command’s spokesperson Shi Yilu.

China also sanctioned U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, the Texas Republican who chairs the chamber’s Foreign Affairs Committee, for visiting Taiwan.

On Sunday, China launched a rocket carrying a satellite that dropped debris into waters north of the capital Taipei. While the satellite launch had no obvious military purpose, it disrupted travel, delaying flights.

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Find more AP coverage of the Asia-Pacific region at https://apnews.com/hub/asia-pacific

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