(U.S. Navy/ Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Morgan K. Nall)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military said it sent two Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, its latest transit through the sensitive waterway, angering China at a time of tense relations between the world's two biggest economies.

Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include a bitter trade war, U.S. sanctions and China's increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols.

The voyage will be viewed by self-ruled Taiwan as a sign of support from the Trump administration amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing, which views the island as a breakaway province.

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The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) steams through the water during a cooperative deployment on April 18, 2019. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Niegel)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military said two of its warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Monday, a move that could anger Beijing at a time of tense relations between the world's two biggest economies.

The South China Sea is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and Taiwan.

President Donald Trump dramatically increased pressure on China to reach a trade deal by announcing on Sunday he would hike U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods this week and target hundreds of billions more soon.

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The USS America, (LHA 6), houses 12 F35-B Lightning II aircraft off the coast of California, November 18, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Dana Beesley)

The Navy is bringing increased strike power to U.S. forces in the Pacific with a new deployment, the service said in a statement.

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Chinese People's Liberation Army H-6 bombers fly around Taiwan in May 2018. (Military News Agency photo)

Chinese bombers and warships conducted drills around Taiwan on Monday, the latest military maneuvers near the self-ruled island that a senior U.S. official denounced as "coercion" and a threat to stability in the region.

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U.S. Marine rifleman Lance Cpl. Hunter Bell during a live-fire range at Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base in the Philippines, April 6, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Isaiah Campbell)

U.S. and Philippine troops have reportedly been training for a potential island invasion scenario, which is a real possibility as tensions rise in the disputed South China Sea.

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In the latest show of military muscle in the South China Sea, the U.S. has apparently sailed its USS Wasp amphibious assault ship near a strategic reef claimed by Beijing and Manila that lies just 230 km (140 miles) from the Philippine coast.

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