U.S. sends two warships through Taiwan Strait

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Two U.S. Navy vessels crossed into the Taiwan Strait from the south and were continuing on a northeasterly course, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed late Saturday.

Saturday's news came as outgoing de facto US ambassador to Taiwan, Kin Moy, said Friday that the United States will continue sending warships through the Taiwan Strait as a gesture of support for Taiwan, despite a recent series of Chinese military exercises around the island.

A defence ministry official told AFP the ships were still in the strait on Saturday night, sailing in what he described as global waters. China maintains Taiwan is a breakaway province and not an independent nation.

The article continued: "Increased trade tensions between Beijing and Washington and Tsai Ing-wen administration's constant provocations have put further strain on the cross-Straits situation".

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Air India changed the name of Taiwan to "Chinese Taipei" on its website and conceded to China's demands.

"The Taiwan issue is the most important and delicate issue in China's relations with the United States", Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters, urging Washington not to intervene in what Beijing calls a domestic matter.

Flags of Taiwan and U.S. are placed for a meeting between U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce speaks and with Su Chia-chyuan, President of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan March 27, 2018.

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

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Under circumstances anywhere else, the lawful passage of warships through the high seas shouldn't be news, but the geopolitical circumstances of the Taiwan Strait ensure that any USA warship presence in the area draws scrutiny.

Beijing has staged a string of military exercises, including a live-fire drill in Taiwan Strait in April, which it said were aimed at Taiwan's "independence forces". It also implied that Chinese People's Liberation Army-Navy vessels monitored the passage of the USA warships through the strait.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has forged close relations with self-ruled, democratic Taiwan, which Chinese President Xi Jinping's leadership considers a renegade province awaiting reunification. The US has termed this request made by China as 'Orwellian Nonsense.' The US said that China is trying to impose its views on the citizens of the US and private companies. Beijing's pressure campaign on Taipei has also extended to other countries and even the private sector.

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