US to conduct ‘freedom of navigation’ transit through Taiwan Strait | News | DW

A senior US official said on Friday that the United States is preparing to conduct “freedom of navigation” operations in the Taiwan Strait over the next few weeks.

Kurt Campbell, the U.S. coordinator for the Indo-Pacific in President Joe Biden’s administration, said the operations will consist of “air and sea transit across the Taiwan Strait over the next several weeks.”

Campbell said efforts would be made in partnership with other G7 countries. Despite recent heightened tensions between Taiwan, China, and the United States, U.S. forces “will continue to fly, navigate, and operate where international law permits, consistent with our long-standing commitment to freedom of navigation”.

“We will ensure that our presence, posture and exercises take into account China’s more provocative and destabilizing behavior, with a view to steer the situation in the Western Pacific toward greater stability,” Campbell added.

Tensions still high over Pelosi’s visit

The US Indo-Pacific coordinator also said China overreacted to the recent visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He said China hoped to use the visit to change Taiwan’s status.

After seven days of large-scale military exercises near Taiwan, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) announced on Wednesday that the drills were over. However, Beijing has pledged to continue “regular combat readiness patrols” in the area, raising the possibility of frequent Chinese military operations near the Democratic Self-Governing Island.

Last week’s exercises were conducted in response to Pelosi’s visit just over a week ago.

ar/dj (AFP, Reuters)

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