US, Canadian warships hold rare 'joint mission' across Taiwan Strait
Once again, the United States sends a vessel through the Taiwan Strait under the pretext of "freedom of navigation."
A US destroyer and a Canadian warship "sailed through" the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, the navies of both countries said, "in a joint mission through the sensitive waterway" that separates Taiwan from China.
The USS Chung-Hoon and the Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Montreal were "conducting a routine Taiwan Strait transit June 3 (local time) through waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law," as per the US 7th Fleet.
"Chung-Hoon and Montreal's bilateral transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific," the US Navy claimed.
In a deliberate provocation, US naval ships frequently sent a naval cruiser through the Taiwan Strait, but it is unprecedented for such a mission to be staged alongside another country's ships.
The last time the US and Canada passed across the strait together was in September 2022.
In a tweet, Canada's military confirmed the passage, saying the US and Canada are "partners (that) operate for peace and security in the region".
China has repeatedly decried the "illegal" intrusion of US warships into waters it claims in the South China Sea. However, the US continues to irk China by sailing its warships through the Taiwan Strait and arming Taiwan with billions of dollars worth of weapons.
This is happening as US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu took part in a defense summit in Singapore.
It is worth noting that the US had invited Li to meet on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, but the Pentagon announced that Beijing had declined.
A member of China's delegation said, as quoted by AFP, that the removal of US sanctions on its minister was a precondition for talks.
Tensions between Washington and Beijing have escalated this year over issues including Taiwan and an alleged Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by a US warplane after traversing the North American country.