Two US Navy warships sail through Taiwan Strait

Image taken from U.S. Navy's official website

Image taken from U.S. Navy's official website

"Two U.S. Navy ships conducted a routine transit through the worldwide waters of the Taiwan Strait on July 7-8", U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Charlie Brown told USNI News Saturday.

The US downplayed the symbolic value of the passage, the first since the USS John McCain sailed through the strait in July 2017, insisting that US warships were conducting an ordinary freedom of navigation mission.

The USS Mustin and USS Benfold guided-missile destroyers, which are both home-ported at the USA naval base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, were the first such American vessels to pass through the strait since the USS John McCain made the transit in July 2017.

China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has criticized the recent attempts by the U-S to strengthen relations with the administration of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Flags of Taiwan and U.S. are placed for a meeting between U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce speaks and with Su Chia-chyuan, President of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan March 27, 2018.

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The "sending political signals by sending warships through the Taiwan Strait", read the editorial, headlined as "U.S. psychological game in Taiwan Strait".

USA officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the destroyers Mustin and Benfold carried out the passage.

Beijing is perceived as sensitive to U.S. military vessels traveling through the strait and continues to lay claim to Taiwan, a self-governed, democratic island, which it views as a breakaway province. Taiwan has shown no interest in being governed by the ruling Communist Party in Beijing.

Despite the lack of diplomatic relations, the US remains Taiwan's chief global ally and American law requires the government to respond to threats to the island.

The move comes as a U.S.

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The last time a USA aircraft carrier transited the Taiwan Strait was in 2007, during the administration of George W. Bush, and some US military officials believe a carrier transit is overdue.

US support for Taiwan is evident, as the Unites States continues to sell it military weapons even though it does not have diplomatic relations with the province. An American aircraft carrier has not sailed through the Strait since 2007.

The US also continues to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan to aid in its defense as part of the requirements under the Taiwan Relations Act, actions that are met with condemnation from Beijing.

China maintains Taiwan is a breakaway province and not an independent nation.

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