The Chinese military criticized the United States on Thursday for undermining regional peace and stability after a US Navy warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait a day earlier.
A spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement the Chinese military tracked the USS Curtis Wilbur as the destroyer made what the US Navy called a “routine Taiwan Strait transit”.
US warships periodically conduct navigation exercises in the strait, often triggering angry responses from China which claims self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as part of its territory.
Beijing views any ships passing through the strait as essentially a breach of its sovereignty – while the US and many other nations view the route as international waters open to all.
The United States has contested China’s extensive territorial claims in the region, accusing it of militarizing the South China Sea and trying to intimidate neighbors such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, who have claims that overlap with China’s in the resource-rich area.