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What has happened?
- Two United States Navy warships have entered the Taiwan Strait in what is the first US naval transit in the waterway since US-China tensions spiked this month over a visit to the island by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
- The guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville were on Sunday making the voyage “through waters where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law,” the US 7th Fleet in Japan said in a statement.
- It said the transit was “ongoing” and that there had been “no interference from foreign military forces so far.“
- “These ships (are transiting) through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state.
- The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
- The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows,” it said.
- The US Navy, however, says most of the strait is in international waters.
- The Navy cites an international law that defines territorial waters as extending 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometers) from a country’s coastline and regularly sends its warships through the strait in what it calls freedom of navigation operations.
- The strait is a 110-mile (180-kilometer) stretch of water that separates the democratic self-ruled island of Taiwan from mainland China.
- Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan despite China’s ruling Communist Party never having controlled the island — and considers the strait part of its “internal waters.“
- The narrow strait has been a frequent source of military tension since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the communists, who established the People’s Republic of China.
- The Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command said it was monitoring the two ships, maintaining a high alert and was “ready to defeat any provocation.“
- US Navy operations in the Taiwan Strait usually take between eight and 12 hours to complete.
- Those transits drew angry responses from Beijing.
- China launched military drills near the island after Pelosi visited in early August and those exercises have continued.
- Her trip infuriated Beijing, which saw it as a US attempt to interfere in China’s internal affairs.
- Pelosi’s visit was followed about a week later by a group of five other US lawmakers, with China’s military responding by carrying out more exercises near Taiwan.
- Senator Marsha Blackburn, who is on the Senate commerce and armed services committees, arrived in Taiwan on Thursday on the third visit by a US dignitary this month, defying pressure from Beijing to halt the trips.
- The Biden administration has sought to keep tensions between Washington and Beijing from boiling over into conflict, reiterating that such congressional trips are routine.
- The US has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is bound by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
Q) Which among the following country is not involved in the South China Sea Dispute?