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U.S. vessels pass through Taiwan Strait for fifth time this year: MND

2019/05/23 11:45:40

USS Preble/Image taken from Wikipedia Commons; Public domain files

Taipei, March. 23 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed Thursday that two U.S. naval vessels sailed through the Taiwan Strait Wednesday, the fifth of such transits this year.

Two U.S. Navy ships entered the Taiwan Strait from the southwest heading north Wednesday, the MND said in a statement, without naming the two ships.

The ministry did not provide any additional information on the transit, except to say that Taiwan's military was fully aware of the situation.

According to a Reuters report earlier in the day, the two ships were identified as the destroyer Preble and the oil tanker Walter S. Diehl, citing a U.S. military spokesman.

"The ships' transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific," Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet, said in a statement.

This marks the fifth such transit made by U.S. naval vessels this year.

Previously commenting on such transits, Chen Wen-fan (陳文凡), deputy chief of the National Security Bureau, said U.S. vessels have regularly sailed through the strategic waters separating Taiwan and China on a monthly basis since this year.

Most of the vessels have been surface combatants, he added.

(By Joseph Yeh)