13:30 GMT +322 September 2019
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    USS Antietam

    US Navy Warship Antietam Sails Through Contested Taiwan Strait

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    The Pentagon announced Wednesday that a US Navy warship had sailed through the Taiwan Strait, a narrow body of water separating the autonomous island of Taiwan from the Chinese mainland.

    The Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Antietam transited the 112-mile-wide waterway on Wednesday as part of a display of defiance by Washington, which rejects Beijing's claims of sovereignty over Taiwan and the strait.

    "The ships' transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific," US Navy spokesperson Commander Clay Doss said in a statement.

    The Antietam also transited the strait last October.

    Mainland China and Taiwan have been governed separately since 1949, when the Chinese Communist Party seized power in Beijing, bringing an end to the Chinese Civil War and establishing the People's Republic of China. The old Republic of China, which was founded in 1912, retained power only on Taiwan. Both governments claim to be only legitimate representative of China.

    Canada's HMCS Regina travels through Taiwan Strait amid tensions with China
    Canada's HMCS Regina travels through Taiwan Strait amid tensions with China

    The US has conducted several such operations this year, typically sending one or two vessels through the strait; however, other navies, such as Canada's, have also taken part. Beijing, too, has sent its warships through the waterway, and both Beijing and Taipei have conducted military drills there.

    China typically strongly protests these "freedom of navigation" operations through what it regards as its own territorial waters.

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    Tags:
    USS Antietam, Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS), transit, China, Taiwan Strait
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