By Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A French warship passed through the strategic Taiwan Strait this month, U.S. officials told Reuters, a rare voyage by a vessel of a European country that is likely to be welcomed by Washington but increase tension with Beijing. The passage, which was confirmed by China, is a sign that U.S. allies are increasingly asserting freedom of navigation in international waterways near China. It could open the door for other allies, such as Japan and Australia, to consider similar operations. The French operation comes amid increasing tensions between the United States and China. Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and China's increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom of navigation patrols. Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a French military vessel carried out the transit in the narrow waterway between China and Taiwan on April 6. One of the officials identified the warship as the French frigate Vendemiaire and said it was shadowed by the Chinese military. The official was not aware of any previous French military passage through the Taiwan Strait. The officials said that as a result of the passage, China notified France it was no longer invited to a naval parade to mark the 70 years since the founding of China's Navy. Warships from India, Australia and several other nations participated. China said on Thursday it had lodged "stern representations" with France for what it called an "illegal" passage. "China’s military sent navy ships in accordance with the law and the rules to identify the French ship and warn it to leave," defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told a regularly scheduled media briefing, while declining to say if the sailing had led to the withdrawal of France's invitation to the parade of ships this week. "China’s military will stay alert to firmly safeguard China's sovereignty and security," he said. Colonel Patrik Steiger, the spokesman for France's military chief of staff, declined to comment on an operational mission. The U.S. officials did not speculate on the purpose of the passage or whether it was designed to assert freedom of navigation. MOUNTING TENSIONS The French strait passage comes against the backdrop of increasingly regular passages by U.S. warships through the strategic waterway. Last month, the United States sent Navy and Coast Guard ships through the Taiwan Strait. The passages upset China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory. Beijing has been ramping up pressure to assert its sovereignty over the island. Chen Chung-chi, spokesman for Taiwan's defense ministry, told Reuters by phone the strait is part of busy international waters and it is "a necessity" for vessels from all countries to transit through it. He said Taiwan's defense ministry will continue to monitor movement of foreign vessels in the region. "This is an important development both because of the transit itself but also because it reflects a more geopolitical approach by France towards China and the broader Asia-Pacific," said Abraham Denmark, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia. The transit is a sign that countries like France are not only looking at China through the lens of trade but from a military standpoint as well, Denmark said. Last month, France and China signed deals worth billions of euros during a visit to Paris by Chinese President Xi Jinping. French President Emmanuel Macron wants to forge a united European front to confront Chinese advances in trade and technology. "It is important to have other countries operating in Asia to demonstrate that this is just not a matter of competition between Washington and Beijing, that what China has been doing represents a broader challenge to a liberal international order," Denmark, who is with the Woodrow Wilson Center think-tank in Washington, added. Washington has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide the island with the means to defend itself and is its main source of arms. (Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart in Washington; Additional reporting by Sophie Louet in Paris, Yimou Lee in Taipei and Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by James Dalgleish, Robert Birsel)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
- Best Life
Even though the world has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly two years, we're still learning about the virus and how it can affect our bodies. One area of understanding that has been particularly difficult to grasp has been the wide range of symptoms the virus can cause and how some can stick around long after recovery. Now, a new study has found that one symptom is having a long-term effect on about half of people who have caught COVID. Read on to see which ailment could be stic
- The Providence Journal
Computer models continue to "boost confidence" that Southern New England will get hit with "a high impact winter storm" Saturday.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The creature was found after a Crime Stoppers tip.
The former president's son received a quick reminder about his father.
- Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
The Olton-Farwell boys basketball game on Tuesday night was postponed after officials left following the girls game.
- Footwear News
Britney Spears Dances in Yellow Target Bikini and Unexpected Heels With an Empowering Body-Confident Message
Spears danced on Instagram in a yellow Target bikini, paired with brown pointed-toe pumps.
- In The Know by Yahoo
Little boy has sweetest reaction when he spots parents in audience: ‘Proof that being present can make a big difference’
His whole face changed the second he saw them, and the footage is going viral.
- Yahoo Entertainment
Even Pat Sajak was surprised by the first thing the contestant asked for following the celebratory confetti.
- Kansas City Star
”I just wish I could do what I want without getting attacked every week,” tweeted Brittany Matthews, co-owner of Kansas City Current and fiancee of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
- The Hill
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) and state Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) have urged the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reverse its ruling that Paxton cannot unilaterally prosecute voter fraud.Both Abbott and Patrick issued separate statements on Tuesday criticizing the court for undermining their push for "election integrity," a move that critics have called voter suppression for minorities who tend to vote Democratic,...
The GOP Virginia governor's email hotline seeking reports of “divisive practices” in schools has received some, well, interesting responses.
- E! News
Evan Marriott became an overnight TV sensation when he starred on the 2003 dating series Joe Millionaire. Scroll on to see what he's up to now.
After Hearing This Woman's Story, Waiters And Waitresses Are Stepping Forward To Share How Often Customers Lie To Try To Get Free Food
It's time for a change.View Entire Post ›
- Rams Wire
As if Matthew Stafford's game-saving bomb to Cooper Kupp wasn't amazing enough, this camera angle makes it that much better
- The Daily Beast
Facebook/Alicia WittA month after her parents’ shock deaths from hypothermia, actor Alicia Witt took to Facebook Tuesday to detail how the preventable tragedy has left her reeling and struggling with what she could have done to save them. In a raw statement released Tuesday, the 1984 Dune actor and Orange Is the New Black star wrote that “i had no idea that their heat had gone out. i will never understand how or why they made the choice not to tell me this, not to let me help them with this. my
- Akron Beacon Journal
'He's The One': Evan Mobley leaves Cavs teammates awestruck as rookie makes franchise, league history
'I find myself on the bench watching him in awe,' Cavs forward Dean Wade said of Mobley, the third overall pick from USC
It’s no secret that Prince Harry is seeking a judicial review after his security request in the U.K. was denied . However, there’s a...
- The Daily Beast
A middle-age Southern California man is accused of lying in wait outside local schools for children wearing masks—and then following them around so he can cough at them, spit on them, and taunt them for being “stupid” enough to don the face coverings.The man, captured on video wearing a “Your mask makes you look stupid” T-shirt, has allegedly been continuing his anti-mask harassment campaign for a month in suburban La Crescenta, with a string of alleged incidents under his bel
- NBC Sports
USMNT host El Salvador on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio as Gregg Berhalter's side are huge favorites to move one step closer to qualification for the 2022 World Cup.
- Kansas City Star
Allen was impressed with the gesture by the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes.