A Chinese newspaper affiliated with the Communist Party on Monday criticized the transit of a pair of U.S. Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait as a “psychological game” amid the showdown over trade and relations with Taiwan, Fox News informed.
The Global Times editorial alerted that the U.S. is rising tensions by sailing the Japan-based guided missile destroyers USS Mustin and USS Benfold through the strait between Taiwan and China.
The U.S. is “sending political signals by sending warships through the Taiwan Strait,” read the editorial, headlined as “U.S. psychological game in Taiwan Strait.”
Both Taiwan and the U.S. issued a confirmation statement that the ships made a transit over the weekend. The Chinese government, which cut off all diplomatic relations to the small island in 2016, claimed for decades that Taiwan is part of China’s territory and will use force to conquer it if needed.
Beijing also criticized the U.S. efforts to foster the relationship with the Taiwanese government and its president Tsai Ing-wen, including the opening of a new office complex for the American Institute in Taiwan that works essentially as Washington’s informal embassy due to the absence of formal diplomatic ties since 1949.
The U.S. Congress recently adopted a measure encouraging higher-level government contacts with Taiwan and tighter cooperation with their military.
The increasing engagement with Taiwan comes amid increasing tensions between China and U.S. over the Trump administration’s trade policies and accusations that China is unfairly benefiting from existing trading practices.
The administration imposed a 25 percent tax on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports last Friday, sparking a trade war with China after it retaliated by imposing taxes on an equal amount of U.S. goods, including electric cars, soybeans and pork.