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The US sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait on Monday. The USS Curtis Wilbur and Antietam made the politically choppy voyage at a time of already high tensions between Washington and Beijing. China's Foreign Ministry hit back at the US operation on Tuesday, saying the Taiwan issue concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
00:00:24
Reuters' Ben Blanchard explains what's at stake from Beijing.>> It's often not appreciated very well in Western capitals just how important and sensitive the Taiwan issue is to Beijing. This is an issue for the Chinese Communist Party that is about their legitimacy. It is about, as they see it, China's sovereignty, and it is about China's territorial integrity.
00:00:47
Anything that threatens, in Beijing's eyes, these issues, and any support that the Americans give to Taiwan's government. And you have to remember Taiwan is a democracy, it is self-ruling. This is something that really freaks out Beijing.>> Taiwans relations with China quickly detoriated after an independence leaning party swept to power in 2016.
00:01:10
But military experts say the balance of power between the two has shifted in China's favor. And while Washington has no formal ties with the island, it is its main source of arms and is bound by law to help it defend itself. In a statement, the US Pacific Fleet, said it will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows.