BEIJING (AP) — China protested Wednesday against the sailing of a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer through the Taiwan Strait the previous day, accusing the American side of hyping the maneuver.
The Navy's Japan-based 7th Fleet said late Tuesday that the passing of the USS Sampson through the 160-kilometer- (100-mile-) wide waterway between Taiwan and China “demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Senior Colonel Shi Yi, a Chinese military spokesperson, said the U.S. had “publicly hyped” the move.
“The frequent provocations of the U.S. have sent the wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces and deliberately undermined peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Shi said in a statement. "We firmly oppose it."
China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and says the self-governing island must come under its rule. It regularly denounces U.S. support for Taiwan, including sales of military equipment to boost its defense and visits by American lawmakers and other government officials.
Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said China opposes any kind of military ties between Taiwan and the U.S.
“The Taiwan issue concerns China’s core interest," he said at a biweekly news conference. “We will by no means allow — and strongly oppose — any interference by exterior forces.”