What could go wrong? And how angry will China get?
The U.S. is reportedly considering sending warships through the Taiwan Strait, a move likely to stir outrage in Beijing at a particularly tense time in U.S.-China relations.
The planned passage, confirmed to Reuters by U.S. officials, follows earlier plans to send an American aircraft carrier through the strait that ultimately failed to materialize. The last time the U.S. sailed a carrier through the strait was in 2007, when the USS Kitty Hawk and eight accompanying ships transited the Taiwan Strait on the way back to Japan after being barred from entering port in Hong Kong.
Some defense officials apparently believe another trip through the strait is long overdue, but for the time being, the Pentagon has yet to confirm any such plans.
“We have a vital interest in upholding the current rules-based international order, which features a strong, prosperous, and democratic Taiwan,” Department of Defense spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Logan told Reuters.
In recent months, China has put increased pressure on Taiwan, which Beijing perceives as a belligerent separatist territory rather than an independent country. Not only has China sent bombers and warships into the area regularly, but Beijing has also leaned hard on the self-ruled island’s few remaining diplomatic partners, pressing them to sever all ties.