US Sends Two Warships Through Taiwan Strait In 1st Since Pelosi Visit

The US Navy has sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, in a significant first sail through since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's provocative visit to Taiwan early this month.

The guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville traversed "through waters where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law," according to the US 7th Fleet in Japan.

USS Chancellorsville file image, via US Navy

Calling the transit "ongoing," the statement emphasized"no interference from foreign military forces so far" - which is a concern given the heavy PLA naval presence in waters off Taiwan this month, also given repeat Chinese breaches of the median line by air and sea.

"These ships (are transiting) through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state. The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows," the 7th Fleet statement continued.

The Pentagon previewed the sail through pf the strait, announcing over a week ago that the Navy is preparing to do such amid Chinese warnings, but didn't specify a date.

Eastern Theater Command slammed the "provocation" and said it is actively monitoring the US vessels. 

"Troops of the (Eastern) Theater Command are on high alert and ready to foil any provocation at any time," a spokesperson for the People Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said.

The White House has accused Beijing of using the early August Pelosi visit to manufacture a crisis. Chinese state media had at the same time expressly stated the PLA drills were a "rehearsal" for forced reunification.

For now, it looks like Congressional delegations to the self-ruled island, in some instances led by some of the most outspoken anti-China hawks, will continue unabated, given a Thursday-Friday trip by Senator Marsha Blackburn marked the fourth US delegation trip in under a month.

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