Taiwan, two American cruisers “dare” to cross the Strait- Corriere.it

from Michele Farina

Maximum Chinese alert: “Ready to respond to any provocation”. US commands: «Routine action in international waters». The first mission after the “Pelosi crisis”

Two American missile cruisers passed through the Taiwan Strait today, perhaps the most observed and dangerous stretch of sea in the world. For the first time since the “Pelosi crisis”, the US Navy officially ventured into the area that this month was the scene of Chinese military exercises, a furious show of strength with which Beijing responded to the visit of the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Taipei.

Tension and tranquility

The American authorities reported that the USS Antietam and the USS Chancellorsville were engaged in a “routine” mission in an international water corridor (the Strait that separates mainland China from the “rebel” island is 160 kilometers wide). Beijing for its part has declared “maximum alert”, making it known that it would closely monitor the situation ready “to respond to any provocation”. For the Americans, the transit of the two warships in the Strait «demonstrates the commitment of the United States to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The US military forces sail, fly and operate wherever international law allows it ”.

Almost twins

The two quasi-twin missile launchers, launched in the second half of the 1980s and belonging to the Seventh Fleet based in Japan (their names recall two battles in the American Civil War), are part of the naval group led by the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, which in the first days of August was stationed in the Philippine Sea not far from Taiwan. The two veterans (who will retire between 2024 and 2026) had already been employed in demonstration missions in the Taiwan Strait (the Antietam at least three times from 2018 to 2019). Their passage was followed in at least one case by the threatening flight of Chinese drones, amid protests from the Beijing authorities who accused the Americans of getting too close to the coast.

The first time since the Chinese exercises

This time there were no accidents. The US mission is to be considered a very special routine mission, given the situation of extreme tension, while diplomatic trips by other parliamentarians and senators from Washington (albeit less “important” than Nancy Pelosi) follow one another to Taipei. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also expressed his willingness to visit the island, which is at the center of political gaming much larger than her: 23 million inhabitants, as large as twice the Veneto, the one that i Portuguese baptized Formosa actually lives as an independent nation, even if few countries in the world officially recognize it. There are 300,000 soldiers and high sea cliffs to protect it from the feared invasion: Taiwan, where at the end of the Second World War the nationalists who opposed Mao Zedong’s revolution took refuge, is considered by Beijing an integral part of the motherland, to be recovered with every means. The United States does not officially recognize Taipei’s independence, but a congressional law provides for American aid in the event of an invasion.

August 28, 2022 (change August 28, 2022 | 13:57)

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