TAIPEI – Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense confirmed on Friday that a US Navy vessel navigated through the Taiwan Strait just as the South Pacific island nation Kiribati switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.
The MND declined to comment on which US Navy ship sailed through the Strait and gave no further details on the time of the vessel’s passing.
It only confirmed that it sailed from the north to the south and that it was fully monitoring the situation in Taiwan’s waters and airspace.
Speaking to Efe, Wong Ming-hsien, a professor at Tamkang University’s Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies said the US was sending a political message to China.
“The struggle of the US and China has obviously switched from the South China Sea to the South Pacific Ocean. The US has lost its influence in the region with the Solomon Islands and Republic of Kiribati switching official diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China,” Wong said.
Taiwan has lost two of its diplomatic allies within a week. The Solomon Islands broke ties with Taiwan for China on Monday, and the Republic of Kiribati switched its recognition to China on Friday.
Wong said that Taiwan makes a considerable contribution to the US in strengthening the superpower’s influence in the region.