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US Navy sends destroyer through strategic Taiwan Strait amid rising tensions with China over coronavirus crisis - days before island's president is sworn in for second term (4 Pics)

The U.S. navy has revealed it sailed a guided-missile destroyer through the sensitive Taiwan Strait yesterday - just days before Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's inauguration for a second term in office amid rising tensions with China. 
China, which considers Taiwan its territory, has been angered by the Trump administration's strong support for the island, such as increased arms sales.
Beijing-Washington ties have also been buffeted by fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) transits the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday as part of ongoing operations in the Indo-Pacific
The guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) transits the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday as part of ongoing operations in the Indo-Pacific
The U.S. Pacific Fleet, in a statement on its Facebook page, said the USS McCampbell had transited the narrow strait that separates Taiwan from mainland China on Wednesday, showing pictures of the ship under way.
Taiwan's Defence Ministry said the ship had sailed south on what it termed an 'ordinary mission', adding it was continuing in that direction.
Tsai, who will be sworn in for her second and final term next Wednesday, won re-election by a landslide in January, vowing to defend Taiwan's democracy and stand up to China.
An MH-60 Sea Hawk assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51 takes off from the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) while transiting the Taiwan Strait
An MH-60 Sea Hawk assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51 takes off from the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) while transiting the Taiwan Strait
Seaman Danielle Clarke, from Daytona, Fla., stands watch as the master helmsman as the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) transits the Taiwan Strait
Seaman Danielle Clarke, from Daytona, Fla., stands watch as the master helmsman as the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) transits the Taiwan Strait
Both China and the United States have ramped up military activities near Taiwan in recent months, including regular U.S. sailings through the Taiwan Strait, and regular Chinese air force drills near the island.
Last Friday, Taiwan said a Chinese air force Y-8 aircraft had briefly crossed into Taiwan's Air Defence Identification Zone, prompting Taiwan jets to warn it to leave.
China operates the Y-8 both as a transport and early warning and electronic warfare aircraft.
Boatswain's Mate Seaman Josiah Simmons, from Atchison, Kansas, scans horizon from bridge wing aboard USS McCampbell (DDG 85) as guided-missile destroyer transits Taiwan Strait
Boatswain's Mate Seaman Josiah Simmons, from Atchison, Kansas, scans horizon from bridge wing aboard USS McCampbell (DDG 85) as guided-missile destroyer transits Taiwan Strait
Taiwan has denounced the Chinese drills as attempts at intimidation and has told Beijing it should focus its efforts on fighting the coronavirus rather than menacing the island.
China considers Tsai to be a separatist, charges she strongly denies.
Late next week, China will open its delayed annual meeting of parliament, where it is expected to release its defence budget for the year, a number closely watched around the region as President Xi Jinping oversees a military modernisation plan.

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