On Wednesday, only hours after China warned the United States that it risked war with China if it interceded in any way between China and Taiwan, which China claims to be part of China, the United States sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait.
A spokesman for the U.S. Navy said the USS Antietam, a guided missile cruiser, made a “routine” transit of the strait “in accordance with international law.” He added that the journey, “demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.”
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian had said: “If there are people who dare to try to split Taiwan from the country, China’s military will be ready to go to war to firmly safeguard national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying added, “The Taiwan question is the most sensitive and important issue between China and the U.S. We urge the U.S. to abide by the One China principle and the three joint communiques, to be prudent and act appropriately with regards to Taiwan so that it doesn’t harm China-U.S. relations and the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait’s region,” according to Reuters.
The Daily Mail noted, “This month, the United States approved sales of weapons requested by Taiwan, including tanks and Stinger missiles, estimated to be worth $2.2 billion … U.S. law requires that it provide Taiwan with sufficient equipment and services for self-defense.”
The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act states:
… that the United States shall provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character and shall maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan. Reaffirms as a commitment of the United States the preservation of human rights of the people of Taiwan. Declares that in furtherance of the principle of maintaining peace and stability in the Western Pacific area, the United States shall make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capacity as determined by the President and the Congress. Requires such determination of Taiwan’s defense needs to be reviewed by United States military authorities in connection with recommendations to the President and the Congress.
In October 2018, the South China Morning Post reported that relations with Taiwan have been strengthened by the Trump administration:
Washington has been approving arms deals with Taipei at a much faster pace than under Barack Obama and George W Bush, while the self-ruled island has been making public U.S. military movements near the Taiwan Strait – information that would not have been released under previous US administrations. Since Trump took office in January 2017, both his administration and Congress have shifted from a policy of not enraging Beijing when it comes to Taipei, to a new policy of challenging the mainland government and focusing more on Taiwan’s defenses.