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China says US military makes region more dangerous after Navy ship sails through Taiwan Strait

Seoul, South Korea CNN —

China accused the United States military of “abusing international law” and continuing a pattern of “dangerous provocations” in East Asia Thursday, after a US Navy destroyer made the service’s first transit of the Taiwan Strait of 2024.

The movement on Wednesday of the USS John Finn through the waterway that separates democratically governed Taiwan from communist mainland China was also the first transit of a US warship through the strait sinceelections on the island two weeks ago.

The vote gave Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party a historic third consecutive presidential victory, with the island’s voters shrugging off warnings from Beijing that its reelection would increase the risk of conflict.

China’s ruling Communist Party views Taiwan as part of its territory, despite having never controlled it, and leader Xi Jinping has not ruled out the use of military force to “reunify” the island with the mainland.

The US meanwhile is obligated under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself, something Beijing regards as interference in its internal affairs.

The USS John Finn (DDG 113) conducts routine operations in the East China Sea, on January 24, 2024.

US Navy 7th Fleet spokesperson Cmdr. Meagan Greene said in a statement Wednesday that the transit of the USS John Finn through the strait was made “in accordance with international law.”

“The ship transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State. John Finn’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to upholding freedom of navigation for all nations as a principle,” Greene said.

HMCS Ottawa fires its main gun