A United States Navy destroyer and a Canadian frigate sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday amid escalating tensions with China.
The warships’ “routine” transit took them through a corridor that is beyond the territorial waters of any country, according to the US Navy.
It’s the second time that US warships have passed through the Taiwan Strait after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited the island in early August, drawing sharp criticism from Chinese officials.
“Higgins’ and Vancouver’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy’s 7th Fleet said Monday.
China has launched ships and fighters jets into the Taiwan Strait in the weeks following Pelosi’s visit, even carrying out simulations of attacks on US warships in the South China Sea, according to the Taiwanese government.
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President Biden has said multiple times that the US would defend Taiwan, most recently telling 60 Minutes on Sunday that the US would take military action in the event of an “unprecedented attack” by China.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan walked those comments back on Tuesday, saying there has been no change in policy and that the Biden administration still stand behind the “One China” policy, which acknowledges Beijing as the sole government of China while allowing for informal relations with Taiwan.
“When the President of the United States wants to announce a policy change, he will do so. He has not done so,” Sullivan said Tuesday.
“[Biden] stands behind the historic US policy toward Taiwan that has existed through Democrat and Republican administrations and has helped keep peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait for decades.”