>> The US may soon sail a warship China's way, sailing it between the mainland and Taiwan. That's what US officials exclusively told Reuters they're weighing up, a move that could provoke Beijing at a delicate time for ties with Washington. On one side is the ongoing dispute over Donald Trump's trade threats and on the other North Korea's nuclear crisis, where Trump has been looking to Beijing for help.
Meanwhile, China has been ramping up military drills around Taiwan, a self-ruled island it claims as its own. As Reuters' Ben Blanchard explains, the warship could be taken in Taiwan as a sign Trump supports them.>> This is probably the single most sensitive territorial issue that China has. It's far more sensitive to the Chinese than the South China Sea issue.
If there is likely to be any kind of serious military clash between the Chinese and the Americans, it is most likely to happen over Taiwan many military experts say. But the Americans have been very keen over the years to underscore to the Taiwanese that they basically have Taiwan's back.
So for the Americans to consider sailing a warship through the Taiwan Strait really would be seen as a sign of support from Washington to Taipei and also seen in Beijing as a warning to the Chinese not to go too far in pushing things when it comes to Taiwan.
>> On Tuesday, China's foreign ministry had tough words for the US and its possible warship. A spokeswoman said China has emphasized repeatedly that Taiwan is the most important issue in US-China ties. And it urged Washington to, quote, properly handle the issue to avoid damaging relations. The last time a US aircraft carrier sailed through the Strait was in 2007.
And some military officials believe another one is overdue. Plans to do that had been scrapped once this year, possible out of concerns that it would anger China. The Pentagon has declined to comment. And it's unclear if and when the warship would arrive.