South China Sea crisis: Warship deployed as tensions erupt between US and China

South China Sea crisis: Warship deployed as tensions erupt between US and China

Daily Express - World·167 views·2020-01-18 11:01

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Beijing said its military forces closely followed and monitored the USS Shiloh, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, as it sailed through the sensitive waterway. The latest spat comes less than a week after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen won re-election by a landslide on a platform of standing up to China, which claims sovereignty over the island. 

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing urged the US to abide by its “one China” policy and deal with Taiwan-related matters in a way that did not undermine China-US relations or stability in the region.

China claims Taiwan as its sacred territory to be taken by force if needed - a threat President Xi Jinping reiterated a year ago, although saying he preferred a peaceful solution.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said the Shiloh sailed in a northerly direction through the strait and that its armed forces monitored the ship throughout.

A spokesman described the deployment as an “ordinary mission”. He said: “People can rest easy.”

The narrow Taiwan Strait which separates the island from China is a frequent source of tension.

China sailed its latest aircraft carrier, the Shandong, through the waterway twice in the run-up to Taiwan’s election last Saturday. Taiwan denounced that as attempted intimidation.

The US Navy said the Shiloh had completed a transit of the Taiwan Strait, without giving details.

The US has been conducting sporadic missions through the strait in the last two years.

Washington has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself and is its main source of arms.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said the island would ensure peace in the Taiwan Strait.

He said: “As a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan will continue to dedicate itself to protecting peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

Under the Trump administration, the United States has made bolstering its defence and other ties with Taiwan a priority, in spite of Chinese anger.

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The top US diplomat in Taiwan, Brent Christensen, told a forum in Taipei his office’s theme for this year was “real friends, real progress”, and took what appeared to be a dig at China.

Mr Christensen, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, said: ”Perhaps this concept sounds simple, but it is important to consider its significance within the current context.

“Some use the cover of friendship to dominate and manipulate; promising mutual benefit but instead delivering extortion; exporting problems rather than solutions.”

He said the US would seek to further Taiwan’s engagement in the world, something the island has found difficult due to China blocking Taiwan’s participation in most international organisations.

He said: ”The United States and Taiwan are members of the same family of democracies.”

Taiwan Politics Military News International

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