“Recently, US warships have sailed through the Taiwan Strait from time to time,” Zhang Chunhui, a spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command, said in a statement.
“They have deliberately raised the heat of the Taiwan issue … [and] sent flirtatious glances to Taiwan’s independence forces, severely jeopardising peace and stability.”
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Zhang said China’s air force and navy had tracked the USS Mustin as it took part in what the US Navy called a “routine Taiwan Strait transit”.
The US was engaging in a show of force and trying to use Taiwan “as a pawn for its own selfish strategic purposes”, Zhang said, adding that China resolutely opposed such actions.
The US Navy said in a statement that the warship’s transit showed America’s commitment to a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.
“The United States military will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” it said.
Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has not ruled out the use of force to reunify it with the mainland.
The United States, which has a legal obligation to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, has bolstered its ties with the self-ruled island significantly in recent years. Earlier this month, Washington approved a US$280 million arms sale to Taipei, much to the consternation of Beijing, with which the US has formal diplomatic ties.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Saturday that it also had monitored the Mustin’s movements, and that “the situation was normal”.
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