China says the United States hyped the Navy’s warship in the Taiwan Strait

BEIJING (AP) – China on Wednesday protested against the sailing of a US Navy-controlled missile destroyer through the Taiwan Strait the day before, accusing the US side of hyping the maneuver.

The Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet said late Tuesday that the passage of the USS Sampson through the 160-kilometer (100-mile) wide waterway between Taiwan and China “demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Senior Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesman for the Chinese military, said the United States had “publicly hyped” the move.

“The frequent provocations from the United States have sent the wrong signals to ‘Taiwan’s independence forces’ and deliberately undermined peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Shi said in a statement. “We are strongly against it.”

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and says the autonomous island should come under its rule. It regularly condemns U.S. support for Taiwan, including the sale of military equipment to strengthen its defenses and visits by U.S. lawmakers and other officials.

Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for China’s Office of Taiwan Affairs, said China was opposed to any military ties between Taiwan and the United States.

“The Taiwan issue concerns China’s core interest,” he told a news conference every two weeks. “We will in no way allow – and strongly oppose – any interference from external forces.”

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