BEIJING – A ruling Chinese Communist Party newspaper on Monday denounced the passage of a pair of U.S. Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait as a “psychological game,” as the two sides square off over trade and relations with self-governing Taiwan.
The Global Times said in an editorial that the U.S. was adding to tensions by sailing the Japan-based guided missile destroyers USS Mustin and USS Benfold through the 160-kilometer (100-mile)-wide strait that divides Taiwan from mainland China, Fox News reports.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory to be conquered by force if necessary, has criticized recent U.S. moves to strengthen relations with the administration of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Those include the opening of a new office complex for the American Institute in Taiwan, which operates as Washington’s de facto embassy on the island in the absence of formal diplomatic ties that were cut when the U.S. switched recognition to China in 1949.
While the U.S. and China cooperate in de-nuclearizing North Korea, there are tensions between the two countries over China’s growing military presence on man-made islands in the South China Sea. The U.S. Navy has continued to carry out freedom of navigation passages in international waters close to those islands that have the effect of countering China’s territorial claims.
Another irritant in the U.S.-China relationship continues to be U.S. support for Taiwan. The U.S. continues to sell military weapons to the island nation even though it does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. China maintains Taiwan is a breakaway province and not an independent nation.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.