KEY POINTS

  • The U.S. said the act was aimed at ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific
  • China responded, calling the transit a "threat to peace and stability" 
  • Three Chinese aircraft breached Taiwan's ADIZ Sunday too

Amid heightened fear of a military clash, U.S. and Canadian warships sailed through the Taiwan strait last week. 

The U.S. military said Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey streamed through the waterway that separated China from the democratically-ruled Taiwan last Thursday and Friday. Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg also accompanied USS Dewey on the journey, reported Reuters.

"Dewey's and Winnipeg's transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific," it added.

This comes as war threat looms over the Taiwan strait, with China sending a record number of warplanes to the island nation's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). Beijing stoked further tension in the region when the Chinese President called for the reunification of Taiwan. However, Taiwan reiterated that it would not bow to China's pressure. 

However, the transit of the warships has angered China, which called it a "threat to peace and stability." 

"The United States and Canada colluded to provoke and stir up trouble... seriously jeopardizing peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait," said China's People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command. "Taiwan is part of Chinese territory. Theatre forces always maintain a high level of alert and resolutely counter all threats and provocations."

U.S. Navy has sent warships through the strait before too. Guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd and the Coast Guard's legend-class cutter Munro streamed through the 160-kilometer-wide Taiwan Strait in August end. This had elicited a sharp response from China, which called the U.S. "the biggest threat to peace and stability."

The allies of the U.S. too occasionally send ships through the strait including Britain, which sent HMS Richmond -- a frigate deployed with its aircraft carrier strike group through the disputed waterway last month. The vessel reportedly sailed through the strait on a trip from Japan to Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the Chinese display of military might be aimed at intimidating Taiwan continues. Taipei reported Sunday that three Chinese aircraft – two J-16 fighters and an anti-submarine aircraft – flew into the ADIZ again. 

According to reports, China sent around 150 aircraft into the zone over a four-day period beginning Oct. 1. However, the Chinese aircraft have not entered Taiwanese air space, concentrating their activity in the southwestern part of the ADIZ.

The PLA had also recently carried out beach landing and assault drills in the province directly across the sea from Taiwan.

In response, the U.S. had urged China to stop its "provocative" military activities. 

A handout photo courtesy of the US Navy's Twitter account on July 25, 2021 shows aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, French navy frigate FS Languedoc, and guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey at sail in the Arabian Sea Representational image of a US warship. Photo: US NAVY / -