On Friday, the US sailed a Navy destroyer and a Coast Guard cutter through the Taiwan Strait, marking the eighth time this year a US warship transited the sensitive waterway.
China’s Defense Ministry released a statement on Saturday condemning the transit. “We express firm opposition and strong condemnation,” the statement said.
Since President Biden came into office, his administration has sailed a warship into the Taiwan Strait at a monthly rate. The transits are typically done by US Navy destroyers. The addition of a Coast Guard cutter comes after the US and Taiwan have agreed to step up coast guard cooperation.
Earlier this month, the US and Taiwan agreed to hold regular talks on coast guard cooperation. The talks were the result of a coast guard memorandum of understanding signed in March by the US and Taiwan’s de facto embassies.
Taiwanese media reported that the US and Taiwan plan to hold joint coast guard drills in the future. The coast guard deal is just one aspect of how Washington is boosting ties with Taipei as part of its strategy against China. The Biden administration recently approved its first arms sale to Taiwan and has taken steps to encourage contacts between US and Taiwanese officials.
Vice President Kamala Harris recently returned from a trip to the region where she visited Singapore and Vietnam and railed against Beijing. In Vietnam, she accused China of “bullying” in the South China Sea, another area where the US is frequently sailing warships.