China’s military declares it is ‘ready to fight’ after drills near Taiwan
Fox News’ Greg Palkot reports on Taiwan condemning China’s military drills.
The U.S. sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait for the first time since China concluded its massive military drills surrounding Taiwan on Sunday.
The U.S. 7th Fleet sent guided missile destroyer USS Milius through the strait in what the U.S. has called a routine operation, and one which served to emphasize that the strait is “beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State.”
The maneuver comes just days after China concluded a series of military drills that saw its forces surround the self-governed island and simulate strikes against it. China’s drills came in response to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s trip to the U.S. and subsequent meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
China has long claimed to hold sovereignty over the Taiwan Strait and the island itself, something not recognized by the U.S. or international law.
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The U.S. 7th fleet deployed USS Milius to sail through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, a maneuver highlighting that the waters remain open to international trade and are not owned by China. (US Navy)
USS Milius was the second Western military vessel to publicly transit the strait since the end of China’s exercises. The French navy also sent its own warship through the strait last week as one of the country’s lawmakers visited Taiwan.
“What we want to say to Taiwan is if something happens to Taiwan, it will change the world,” the lawmaker, Eric Bothorel, told reporters. “That is the reason why we have, for instance, a military ship from France, in the China Sea last week. We consider that we have to preserve the freedom of traveling, of moving in this space.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., shakes hands with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen after delivering statements to the press at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, Wednesday, April 5, 2023. The meeting was followed by China conducting military drills around Taiwan in response. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
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China’s encirclement of Taiwan was the second such operation in the past 12 months. The Chinese military conducted a similar operation in August after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island.
China maintains that such visits are a violation of the U.S. One-China policy and the Taiwan Relations Act. Together, the policies state that the U.S. acknowledges Beijing as the sole and rightful government of China, and ensures the U.S. will not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
The U.S. does not maintain a formal embassy in Taiwan, but China argues visits from lawmakers infringe on the Taiwan Relations Act. Nevertheless, a number of U.S. lawmakers have traveled to the island in recent years.
U.S. lawmakers have frequently made visits to Taiwan in recent years, though China has loudly objected to visits from more prominent members of Congress. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)
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Taiwan split from mainland China in 1949 when democratic forces fled to the island after losing a civil war to the Chinese Communist Party.
The Assocaited Press contributed to this report.
Anders Hagstrom is a reporter with Fox News Digital covering national politics and major breaking news events. Send tips to [email protected], or on Twitter: @Hagstrom_Anders.