China says U.S. undermining stability after warship sails through Taiwan Strait

BEIJING — The Chinese military criticized the United States on Thursday for undermining regional peace and stability after a U.S. Navy warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait a day earlier.

A spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement the Chinese military tracked the USS Curtis Wilbur as the destroyer conducted what the U.S. Navy called a “routine Taiwan Strait transit.”

“The move artificially creates risk factors in the Taiwan Strait, deliberately undermines regional peace and stability, we are firmly opposed to this,” the Chinese spokesman said.

“The troops in the war zone are always on high alert and ready to respond to all threats and provocations.”

The U.S. Navy’s 7th fleet said Wednesday that “the ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

China views Taiwan, which has a population of 24 million people, as an renegade breakaway province. When the Chinese civil war between the communists and nationalists ended in 1949 with the former triumphant, the latter set up a rival government in Taipei, to rule over the island off the southeastern coast of mainland China.

Since the 1970s, the U.S. has officially only recognized Beijing.

The Biden administration said recently its support of a “one-China” policy over Taiwan has not changed. Under the policy the U.S. recognizes the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government and does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Biden did however raise “fundamental concerns” about Beijing’s actions on a range of issues — among them its “increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan” — during his first phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month.

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