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US Warship transits Taiwan Straits amid China tensions

 

The guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain conducted a “routine” transit of the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, the US Navy said, as China sent more fighter jets into Taiwan’s air defence zone and a Chinese carrier group drilled near Taiwan. “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The United States military will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows,” the US Navy said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, China’s President Xi Jinping on Wednesday said Sino-EU relations were facing “various challenges” and he hoped the 27-nation bloc could “independently” make correct judgements, Chinese state media reported.

In the phone call with Merkel, who has led Germany, the EU’s biggest economy, since 2005, Xi said the EU and China should “respect each other” and “eliminate interference,” according to a readout from the official Xinhua news agency, without naming the source of such interference.

The EU last month imposed its first significant sanctions against Chinese officials since 1989 over alleged human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region. Beijing, which denies the allegations, quickly hit back by blacklisting some EU lawmakers and entities.

EU allies the United States, Britain and Canada also sanctioned Chinese officials over Xinjiang, and the row is threatening to derail an EU-China investment pact agreed in late 2020 after years of negotiations.

Xi also urged Germany and the EU to make joint efforts with China to maintain healthy and stable development of bilateral cooperation, according to the readout.

China is willing to work with the international community to promote “fair and reasonable distribution” of coronavirus vaccines and opposes vaccine nationalism, he added.

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