U.S. Navy Sends Two Warships Through the Taiwan Strait

Taiwan's Defense Ministry first confirmed the transit in a statement.

Trump was the first president since Jimmy Carter to directly speak with the Taiwanese leader, and previous year, the US Congress passed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act which authorized naval cooperation between the US and Taiwanese militaries.

The Defense Department declined to say the move was a signal to China, but rather that it demonstrated a US commitment to a "free and open" Indo-Pacific.

China said Tuesday it has expressed concern to the United States over what it considered an affront to its sovereignty after two U.S. warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait.

The U.S. Navy sailed two warships through the Taiwan Strait for the second time since July, a show of force that threatens to further exacerbate tensions with China.

Washington has no formal ties with Taiwan, but is bound by law to help it defend itself and is the island's main source of arms.

China has become increasingly aggressive in the Taiwan Strait towards Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province and not a separate country.

Beijing recently conducted a series of military manoeuvres, including a live fire exercise in the Taiwan Strait in April, declaring its willingness to confront Taiwan's "independence forces".

Mr Mattis delivered that message to China's Defence Minister Wei Fenghe personally on October18, on the sidelines of an Asian security forum.

Taiwan late on Monday requested that China refrain from interfering in its elections, saying that Beijing should respect and learn from its democracy.

Taiwan is only one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.

China, concerned that U.S. military actions around Taiwan will embolden pro-independence factions on the self-ruled island, has bolstered its military presence in the area this past year. -China relationship, which also include a bitter trade war, USA sanctions, and China's increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea. The U.S. continues to sell military weapons to the island nation even though it does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.