China ‘ready to defeat any provocation’ as two US Navy ships sail through Taiwan Strait

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China says it is “ready to defeat any provocation” as two US Navy warships sail through international waters in the Taiwan Strait.

It comes just weeks after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the region – the highest-ranking elected US official to visit in more than 25 years.

Her visit , angered China, which saw it as a US attempt to interfere in its internal affairs.

The narrow strait has been a source of military tension since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the communists.

Mrs Pelosi‘s visit angered China, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province to be annexed by force if necessary.

Confirming the operation, the US Navy said the cruisers Chancellorsville and Antietam had “transited through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state”.

It normally takes eight to 12 hour to complete such operations.

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The operation demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, and the US military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows, the navy added.

Nations including the UK and Canada have been among the other nations to send ships through the Taiwan Strait in recent years.

China’s military said it was monitoring the US naval movements, ready to “thwart any provocation”.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said the two US ships were sailing in a southerly direction and that its forces were observing, but that “the situation was as normal”.

Following Pelosi’s visit in early August, five other US lawmakers visited Taiwan. China’s military responding by carrying out more exercises near the island. Three more US dignitaries have visited this month.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has sought to keep tension between Washington and Beijing from boiling over into conflict, reiterating that congressional trips are routine.

The United States has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is bound by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself..

Taiwan is home to 23 million people, and has never been ruled by China.

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