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New Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder held his first news briefing as military spokesperson Wednesday afternoon.
Watch the briefing in the player above.
Ryder responded to questions about a recent action by the U.S. Navy in the Taiwan Strait on Sunday. The navy sailed two warships through the Taiwan Strait, in the first such transit publicized since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan earlier in August.
“The transit demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Ryder said. “We will continue to operate wherever the international law permits us to do so.”
China has sent warships into the Taiwan Strait and waters surrounding Taiwan since Pelosi’s visit, as well as sending warplanes and firing long-range missiles. It views the island as part of its national territory and opposes any visits by foreign governments as recognizing Taiwan as its own state.
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“We assessed that really what China was trying to do here was change the status quo in terms of what is acceptable, normal behavior in that region,” Ryder said.
The 100 mile-wide (160 kilometer-wide) strait divides Taiwan from China.On Tuesday Taiwan’s military fired warning shots at drones from China flying over its outposts just off the Chinese coastline, underscoring the heightened tensions and the self-ruled island’s resolve to respond to new provocations.
Taiwan’s forces said in a statement that troops took the action on Tuesday after drones were found hovering over the Kinmen island group. Dadan, one of the islands where a drone was spotted, lies roughly 15 kilometers (9 miles) off the Chinese coast.
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