U.S. warships pass through Taiwan Strait amid heightened tensions with Beijing

US warships sail through Taiwan Strait for first time in a year as China tariffs kick

US warships sail through Taiwan Strait for first time in a year as China tariffs kick

Taiwan's top China policy planner urged Beijing Sunday not to overreact to the recent passage of two U.S. Navy vessels through the Taiwan Strait and not to blame others for its own actions that have disturbed peace and stability in the region.

Earlier Sunday, commenting on the passage, China's Taiwan Affairs Office Director Liu Jieyi (劉結一) said the USA has been "playing the Taiwan card" against China.

The move comes amid a trade war between the USA and China and escalating tensions between Taiwan and China, which has warned that it will defend - by force if necessary - its "One China" principle under which the self-ruling island is seen as part of China's own territory, awaiting reunification.

Liu said that the people of Taiwan should be able to see through the US and its intentions and that its behavior has damaged the interests of the people of Taiwan and those of the entire Chinese people, as well as hurting China's interests.

The Chinese government had no immediately comment.

The U.S. Navy has not sailed an aircraft carrier in that area since 2007.

While the USA and China cooperate in denculearizing North Korea, there are tensions between the two countries over China's growing military presence on man-made islands in the South China Sea.

The goal is to draw a line to prevent China from damaging the regional "status quo", as Beijing attempts to challenge it, the source said.

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Two US destroyers, the USS Mustin and the USS Benfold, have passed through the narrow waterway separating mainland China from Taiwan.

The U.S. continues to sell military weapons to the island nation even though it does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

U.S. Marines usually guard missions in countries with which Washington has formal diplomatic ties.

China has stepped up diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan since Beijing-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen took office two years ago as her government refuses to acknowledge that the island is part of "one China". The move, which several news outlets have reported, comes amid increasing strain between the Trump administration and China over trade, North Korea and the South China Sea.

Koh also said the move was unlikely to be a one-off, adding that Beijing would continue to apply pressure on Taipei.

A growing number of worldwide airlines and companies were also forced to change Taiwan's name to "Taiwan, China" or "Chinese Taipei" due to pressure from Beijing. "So there'll be no rolling back by China".

Former Taiwan Vice President Lien Chan, of Taiwan's pro-China and former ruling Nationalist Party, is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing next week.

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