US and Canadian warships sail through Taiwan Strait, second in a year

The USS Higgins is located in the northern Israeli city of Haifa on September 6, 2009. The destroyer is one of 18 US ships deployed worldwide with Aegis interceptor systems capable of blowing up ballistic missiles above the atmosphere. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

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Sept. 20 (Reuters) – A US Navy warship and a Canadian frigate conducted a routine transit through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday, US and Canadian armies said, an operation amid heightened military tensions between Beijing and Taipei.

China condemned the mission, saying its troops “warned” the ships.

In recent years, US warships, and sometimes those from allied nations such as Britain and Canada, have routinely sailed through the strait, angering China, which claims Taiwan over the objections of the island’s democratically elected government.

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In a statement, the US Navy said the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer Higgins and the Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigate Vancouver conducted passage through a strait corridor that lies outside the territorial sea of ​​a coastal state.

“Such cooperation is at the center of our approach to a safe and prosperous region,” the naval statement added.

Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said her country, as a nation in the Pacific, is strongly committed to maintaining global stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

“The current routine through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates our commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific,” she said in a statement.

The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army said its troops were monitoring the ships and “warning them”.

“Theatre troops are always vigilant, resolutely oppose all threats and provocations and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it said in a statement, in the usual terms for its response to such missions.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said the ships were sailing north through the waterway and its troops were observing the mission, but “the situation was normal.”

It was the second transit of the strait in a month by a US Navy ship, and the second joint transit through the United States and Canada in less than a year, the last in October 2021. read more

A visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August infuriated China, which considers the island its territory.

China then launched military exercises near the island, which have continued, albeit on a much smaller scale.

The narrow Taiwan Strait has been a frequent source of military tension since the defeated government of the Republic of China fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the communists who founded the People’s Republic of China.

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Reporting by Idrees Ali; additional reporting by Michael Martina, Ben Blanchard and Steve Scherer; adaptation by Jonathan Oatis, Shri Navaratnam and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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