WASHINGTON, Aug 27  – Two U.S. warships sailed through international waters in the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, the first time since a visit to Taipei by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi angered the China, which considers the island as its territory.

The US Navy, confirming a Reuters report, said the cruise ships Chancellorsville and Antietam were carrying out the ongoing operation, of a type that typically last eight to 12 hours and are closely watched by the Chinese military.

In recent years, US warships, and sometimes those of allied nations such as Britain and Canada, have routinely sailed through the strait, drawing the ire of China, which claims Taiwan against the objections of its democratically elected government. .

Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan in early August angered China, which saw it as an attempt by the United States to interfere in its internal affairs. China subsequently began military exercises near the island, which have continued ever since.

“These (US) ships transited a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of ​​any coastal state,” the US Navy said.

The operation demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, and the US military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows, the Navy said.

The Chinese Army’s Eastern Theater Command said it was following the ships and warning them.

“Theater troops remain on high alert and are ready to thwart any provocation at any time,” it added in a statement.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the ships were sailing south and its forces were watching, but “the situation was normal.”

The Taiwan Strait has been a frequent source of military tension since the defeated ROC government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the communists, who established the People’s Republic of China.

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