US to conduct air and maritime transits in Taiwan Strait

The United States plans to conduct new “air and maritime transits” in the Taiwan Strait in a step the White House says will reflect its response to China’s military drills in the contested strait amid rising tensions over the self-ruled island.

China conducted its largest-ever military drill around Taiwan, which Beijing considers its territory, during a trip by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this month.

Kurt Campbell, the White House coordinator for Asia-Pacific issues and adviser to President Joe Biden, said despite tensions, US forces “will continue to fly, sail and operate where international law allows, consistent with our longstanding commitment to freedom of navigation”.

“That includes conducting standard air and maritime transits through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks,” he told reporters.

Campbell did not confirm what kind of deployment would be made to support the manoeuvres, saying he had no “comments about either the nature of our crossings or the timings across the Taiwan Strait”.

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