The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Friday that it is closely following a US Navy ship sailing through the Taiwan Strait.
The ministry has urged Washington to abide by the ‘one China’ policy in order not to harm US-China relations or the region’s stability.
On Thursday, the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defence announced the US Navy’s trip through the strait. The US Seventh Fleet later confirmed the information, describing the move as a “routine” transit of the USS Shiloh.
“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” Lieutenant Joe Keiley, a fleet spokesman, said at that time.
While China has maintained that it considers Taiwan its territory and reserves the right to reunite it with the mainland, the US doesn’t recognise Beijing’s claims to Taiwan and regards the strait as neutral international waters, justifying the ships’ passages by calling them “freedom of navigation” operations.
This comes days after the US and China signed the Phase One Trade deal that is seen as a much-hoped-for first step in ending the trade war between the two economic superpowers, which has led to billions of dollars in economic losses by both countries, and caused a spike in concerns about the slowed global growth.
The trade conflict between the US and China began in 2018 after Washington slapped tariffs on $25 billion worth of Chinese goods, and has since escalated to include hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of products from both countries. The two sides began talks to try to end the dispute in mid-2019.