China says U.S. is ‘maker of security risks’ after Taiwan Strait sailing

U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65), forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, conducts underway operations in the South China Sea, in this handout picture released on July 13, 2022.

BEIJING (Reuters) – The United States is a “maker of security risks” in the Taiwan Strait with its frequent provocations there, China’s military said on Wednesday after another U.S. warship sailed through the sensitive waterway.

The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said the destroyer USS Benfold conducted a “routine” Taiwan Strait transit through international waters “in accordance with international law.”

The United States has been carrying out such voyages about once a month, angering China, which views them as a sign of support for Taiwan, the democratically governed island that Beijing views as Chinese territory.

The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said in a statement that its forces had followed the ship throughout and “warned” it.

“The frequent provocations and showing off by the United States fully demonstrate that the United States is a destroyer of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and a maker of security risks in the Taiwan Strait,” it said in a statement.

“Theater forces remain on high alert at all times and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The U.S. Navy said the ship “transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State.”

“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said the U.S. ship sailed north through the strait, and that the situation in the waterway was “as normal.”

The Benfold has been operating in the disputed South China Sea, where it has carried out two “Freedom of Navigation Operations” in the past week.