BEIJING (Reuters) – The United States is deliberately “creating tensions” and disturbing peace and stability, the Chinese military said, after a US warship sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, the first mission of its kind under the new management Biden. China, which claims to democratically rule Taiwan as its own territory, has been angered by increased US support for the island, including selling arms and sending warships across the Taiwan Strait, further exacerbating relations between Beijing and Washington. The US Navy said the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain had “made a routine transit through the Taiwan Strait on February 4 in accordance with international law.” The Taiwan Defense Ministry described it as a “normal” mission. In a statement late Thursday, the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army said its forces had followed and tracked the ship. “The US move is a repeat of its old trick of ‘mixed manipulation’ of the situation across the Taiwan Straits, deliberately creating tensions and disrupting regional peace and stability. We resolutely oppose this,” he said. “No matter how the situation in the Taiwan Strait changes, the theater troops will loyally carry out their duties and mission, resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.” Last year, the United States Navy sailed through the Taiwan Strait 13 times. The administration of US President Joe Biden has been willing to show its support for Taiwan, calling its commitment to the island “rock solid.” Last month, Taiwan reported that Chinese fighter jets and bombers had flown into the southwest corner of its air defense identification zone, coinciding with a US carrier strike group entering the disputed South China Sea. The US military said those Chinese military flights conformed to a pattern of destabilizing and aggressive behavior on the part of Beijing, but did not pose a threat to the carrier group.
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