U.S. warships pass through Taiwan Strait amid heightened tensions with Beijing

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold is one of two warships to have entered the Taiwan StraitMore

Taiwanese officials said the ships were traveling in worldwide waters.

Two U.S. warships traveled down the narrow Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China on Saturday, Taiwanese officials said.

The ministry in a news release said that the Republic of China Navy monitored the passage of the two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in accordance with regulations. In 2007, a US aircraft carrier sailed through the strait on its way to home port in Japan, a route Washington described then as a safety move due to weather.

Air India's recent decision to change Taiwan's designation to Chinese Taipei has nothing to do with the country's one China policy, a major Indian news outlet reported Saturday.

Although the USA does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it is its most powerful ally and top arms supplier.

In the MAC's statement made in response to Liu, it said that it is self-evident which the two sides of the strait is responsible for the disruptions to the status quo.

Chinese officials involved in dealing with cross-strait issues should be able to assess the current situation properly, adopt a thoughtful and discreet approach before making comments, and handle cross-strait affairs in a pragmatic manner, the MAC said.

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The U.S. and China also have tensions over China's growing military presence on man-made islands in the South China Sea, a place near where U.S. Navy continues to carry out freedom of navigation passages.

China's hostility toward Taiwan has grown since Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won presidential elections on the island in 2016.

U.S. Marines usually guard missions in countries with which Washington has formal diplomatic ties.

As a responsible player in the region, Taiwan will continue to deepen cooperation with the US and other like-minded countries to ensure regional peace and stability, it said.

Collin Koh, a specialist in regional naval affairs at Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said the warships' transit was likely a message from the US that it continues to support Taiwan. The U.S. Navy has continued to carry out freedom of navigation passages in global waters close to those islands that have the effect of countering China's territorial claims.

Taiwan, he added, is at the forefront of key issues for China - perhaps even more important to Beijing than its territorial row with Tokyo in the East China Sea over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, known in China as the Diaoyus.

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