Skip to main content

The guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) is shown in the South China Sea, March 6, 2016. The warship sent to the 112-mile-wide (180-km) Taiwan Strait was identified as the Antietam.

US NAVY/Reuters

China expressed “deep concerns” on Thursday over a U.S. Navy warship sailing through the Taiwan Strait, a day after Beijing warned that it was ready for war if Taiwan moved toward independence.

Taiwan is among a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman in Beijing said China had “expressed deep concerns to the U.S. side” over its latest action in the strait separating China from Taiwan.

Story continues below advertisement

“The Taiwan question is the most sensitive and important issue between China and the U.S.,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing.

“We urge the U.S. to abide by the One China principle and the three joint communiques, to be prudent and act appropriately with regards to Taiwan so that it doesn’t harm China-U.S. relations and the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait’s region.”

China claims self-ruled and democratic Taiwan as its own and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under Beijing’s control.

On Wednesday, China warned that it is ready for war if there was any move toward Taiwan’s independence, accusing the United States of undermining global stability and denouncing its arms sales to the self-ruled island.

The warship sent to the 112-mile-wide (180-km) Taiwan Strait was identified as the Antietam.

“The (ship’s) transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement on Wednesday. “The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” he added.

The voyage risks further raising tensions with China but will likely be viewed by self-ruled Taiwan as a sign of support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing.

Story continues below advertisement

The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide the island with the means to defend itself and is its main source of arms.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said the U.S. ship had sailed north through the Taiwan Strait in its freedom-of-navigation voyage and Taiwan had monitored the mission.

“Taiwan makes no compromise on its freedom, democracy and sovereignty,” President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters in Taipei, when asked to comment on the U.S. warship’s passage through the strait.

“The responsibility for cross-strait and regional stability lies with every party. China has the responsibility, and we will undertake ours, too,” Tsai said.

China has been ramping up pressure to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan, which it considers a wayward province of “one China” and sacred Chinese territory.

On Wednesday, Chinese Defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a news briefing on a defence white paper, the first like it in several years to outline the military’s strategic concerns, that China would make its greatest effort for peaceful reunification with Taiwan.

Story continues below advertisement

“If there are people who dare to try to split Taiwan from the country, China’s military will be ready to go to war to firmly safeguard national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity,” he said.

China has repeatedly sent military aircraft and ships to circle Taiwan on exercises in the past few years and worked to isolate it internationally, whittling down its few remaining diplomatic allies.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies