The Chinese military on Wednesday denounced the US as the “creator of security risks” after a US warship transited the Taiwan Strait.
The US Navy destroyer USS Benfold made the passage through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday after challenging Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea twice by sailing near Chinese-controlled islands.
“The frequent provocations and showing off fully show that the US is the destroyer of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the creator of security risks in the Taiwan Strait,” China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement.
On Saturday, the Benfold sailed near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea to challenge Beijing’s claims. A few days earlier, the Benfold sailed close to the disputed Paracel Islands. Around the same time, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group entered the South China Sea.
The uptick in US military activity in the region comes as tensions are soaring between US and China over Washington’s growing ties with Taiwan. Media reports said Tuesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will be visiting Taiwan next month, which will mark the first time in 25 years that a sitting House speaker makes the trip.
China has strongly denounced Pelosi’s plans and warned it would respond. “China will take strong and resolute measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The US must assume full responsibility for any ensuing consequences,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.