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MND confirms two U.S. Navy vessels sailed through Taiwan Strait

2019/01/24 23:28:57

USNS Walter S.Diehl / Image taken from Wikipedia: Public domain

Taipei, Jan. 24 (CNA) Two United States Navy vessels sailed through the Taiwan Strait Thursday, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed that day.

The ministry did not provide any additional information on the transit, other than to say Taiwan's military is in full control of the situation.

The passage of the vessels comes at a time of increasing tensions between Washington, Beijing and Taipei on issues related to trade as well as political and military matters.

In a CNN report, Thursday U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman was quoted as saying that the naval passage was a routine transit conducted "in accordance with international law."

The transit was carried out by the guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell and the USNS Walter S. Diehl, the report said.

According to Taiwan's defense ministry, the passage on Thursday is the fourth time the U.S. Navy has sent vessels through the Taiwan Strait since July last year, after similar operations in October and November.

Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed in an email response to CNA that two U.S. Navy ships had indeed transited between the South China Sea and East China Sea vis the Taiwan Strait.

"This routine transit through international waters of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific," Logan wrote. "The U.S. will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows."

(By Elaine Hou, Chiang Chin-yeh and Ko Lin)