China protests transit of US destroyer through Taiwan Strait

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FILE – In this April 23, 2019, file photo, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning participates in a naval parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of China’s PLA Navy in the sea near Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province. China says it is holding naval drills involving the battlegroup of the aircraft carrier Liaoning in waters near Taiwan. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool, File)

BEIJING (AP) — China has protested the passage of a U.S. destroyer through the Taiwan Strait in the latest move as both nations increase their naval activity in the region.

A military spokesperson said China tracked and monitored the USS John S. McCain throughout its passage and said the U.S. move “willfully disrupted the regional situation.”

China threatens to invade Taiwan to assert its claim over the self-governing island democracy, which enjoys strong U.S. support.

While the Taiwan Strait lies in international waters, its transiting by U.S. naval vessels is seen as a partly symbolic show that Washington will not permit Beijing’s forces to dominate the waterway.

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