China has warned that the U.S. will have to pay a heavy price after the U.S. Navy sent a warship through the Taiwan Strait amid the war between Russia and Ukraine.

At a regular press conference on March 1, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wen Bin said: “If the US wants to use this to support Taiwan’s desire for independence, we must tell the US that this will only accelerate the fall of Taiwan, and the US will pay a heavy price for the act at your own risk.”

Wang made the remark when asked by reporters about the recent transit of the missile-guided destroyer USS Ralph Johnson through the Taiwan Strait on February 26th.

The US Navy claimed that their destroyer made a routine transit through international waters on Feb. 26.

The US Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement: “The ship is transiting through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State.”

It added: “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows.”

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense confirmed that the US ship was passing through the strait, adding that the Taiwanese military “is fully monitoring relevant activities near the sea and in the air, and the situation is still normal”.

American warships carry out navy drills in the Taiwan Strait periodically, prompting angry reactions from China, which views Taiwan and the surrounding waters as its own territory. Meanwhile, the U.S. and many other countries see this maritime route as an international sea opening to all countries.

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