Taiwan confirms passage of 2 US warships through its strait

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Taipei, Nov 29 (IANS) Taiwan’s Defence Ministry on Thursday confirmed the passage of two US Navy warships through the Taiwan Strait, the third time in a year that American military ships have sailed between Taiwan and China.

Beijing condemned the passage of the ships and urged Washington to exercise caution and work with it to resolve tensions, Efe news reported.

The US Navy has said it carries out freedom of navigation operations to assert the right of its vessels to sail in international waters.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said that the US ships sailed southwest after entering the Strait from waters northeast of Taiwan on Monday morning, in confirmation of the announcement made by the Pentagon on Wednesday.

It said the two ships — a destroyer and a replenishment vessel — sailed through the international waters of the Strait and added that the island was capable of defending its maritime territory and its aerospace security.

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In previous days, Taiwan justified the sail-by operations by US ships through the Strait and in international waters, saying the actions contributed to peace and stability in the region.

The Mainland Affairs Council, the Taiwanese agency responsible for policy towards China, also expressed on Thursday its commitment to America’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy and promised to continue working to maintain peace and stability across the Strait.

The agency also asked Washington to support and promote communication and dialogue across the Strait in order to address existing tensions between Taipei and Beijing.

–IANS

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