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China Criticizes US Destroyer Passage for Trespassing

China’s military has reportedly criticized a US destroyer’s passage through the Taiwan strait, which came less than two weeks before the Island’s new president claims office and in the midst of Washington and Beijing’s “uneven” efforts to restore regular military exchange.

Navy Senior Capt. Li Xi, spokesperson for China’s Eastern Theater Command, said the US has “publicly hyped” the passage of the USS Halsey which oversees operations around the strait.

The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet claimed the Halsey “conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit on May 8 through waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law.”

The guided-missile destroyer apparently transitioned through a corridor in the strait that goes beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state, according to the fleet. 

“Halsey’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to upholding freedom of navigation for all nations as a principle,” it said. “No member of the international community should be intimidated or coerced into giving up their rights and freedoms. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows.”

“Throughout the transit, the Taiwanese military was closely monitoring the surrounding sea and airspace, and the situation remained normal,” the ministry said.

According to western media, the last passage of this nature was on April 17, only a day after US and Chinese defense chiefs had their first talks in a quest to reduce regional tensions back in November 2022.

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