Jul 25, 2019

U.S. warship in Taiwan Strait as trade talks set to resume with China

The U.S. Navy's guided missile cruiser USS Antietam. Photo: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Navy sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait that separates Taiwan from China Wednesday, Reuters reports — hours after China warned it hadn't ruled out using force to reunify the island nation with the mainland.

Why it matters: Taiwan is one of several flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, and this incident comes as American and Chinese officials are due to restart trade talks, per Bloomberg. The State Department notified Congress this month that it has approved a $2.2 billion arms sale to the self-ruled Taiwan — which China regards as a breakaway province.

The big picture: The U.S. Navy has sent ships to the Taiwan Strait several times in recent months. China warned against foreign interference in the region in a defense white paper earlier Wednesday.

  • U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are due to travel to China Monday for the first high-level, in-person negotiations between American and Chinese officials since since talks stalled in May, Bloomberg notes.

What they're saying: Taiwan said Thursday, after the guided missile cruiser the USS Antietam had sailed through the strait that the U.S. Navy is free to take such action, per AP.

  • A spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet told AP the voyage was conducted "in accordance with international law."

Go deeper: U.S.-China trade war to blame for the continuing global slowdown

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,923,432— Total deaths: 364,836 — Total recoveries — 2,493,434Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,745,930 — Total deaths: 102,808 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.