US warship transits Taiwan Strait for second time in 2 weeks

TAIPEI: A US Navy warship has transited the narrow and sensitive Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Monday, the second such operation in two weeks amid rising tensions between China and the US.

The ministry said a US destroyer, which it did not name, had sailed in a southerly direction through the strait and was continuing to sail south.

The ship was on an “ordinary mission” and the situation was “normal”, the ministry added, without giving details.

The US Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The US guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin sailed through the strait on Aug 18, in what China’s military called an “extremely dangerous” move.

Both China and the US have been stepping up their military activities in the region, both around Chinese-claimed Taiwan and in the disputed South China Sea.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen warned last week of the risk of accidental conflict from the rise in military activities.

China claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.

The US is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and most important backer on the international stage.