Beijing accuses US of ‘deliberately damaging peace’ by sending destroyer through Taiwan Strait

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China has hit out at the US for sending a guided-missile destroyer through the Taiwan Strait a few days ago.

“The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit April 26 (local time) through international waters in accordance with international law,” the US Navy’s Japan-based Seventh Fleet said in a statement.

“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows,” it added.

But China on Wednesday accused the US of publicly hyping the event.

“The frequent provocations of the US have sent the wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces and deliberately undermined peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” senior colonel Shi Yi, a Chinese military spokesperson, said in a statement. “We firmly oppose it.”

The People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theatre Command organised forces to track and monitor the US warship throughout its entire course on high alert, Mr Shi added.

Tensions have been simmering between the US and China over Taiwan in recent months.

China considers the self-governing island to be a part of its territory and has condemned US support for Taiwan.

While the US recognises Beijing and does not have any official relations with Taiwan, it supplies arms to the island nation under the Taiwan Relations Act.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Beijing opposes any military ties between Taiwan and the US.

“The Taiwan issue concerns China’s core interest,” Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office, said at a biweekly news conference. “We will by no means allow – and strongly oppose – any interference by exterior forces.”

Additional reporting by agencies