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U.S. warship sails through Taiwan Strait, ninth this year

2019/11/13 13:39:23

A screenshot from U.S. 7th Fleet Facebook page

Taipei, Nov. 13 (CNA) Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed Wednesday that a United States warship recently sailed through the Taiwan Strait, the ninth such transit in 2019.

"The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) transits the Taiwan Strait," the U.S. 7th Fleet said in a post titled "TAIWAN STRAIT (Nov. 11, 2019)" on its Facebook page Wednesday morning.

The post came with several photos showing U.S. Navy crews using binoculars on the bridge of the guided-missile cruiser.

"Chancellorsville is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region," the post further said.

The vessel's transit of the Taiwan Strait comes at a time when U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is making an Indo-Pacific trip, which begins on Wednesday, visiting South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the MND on Wednesday morning said in a statement that it was aware of the U.S. warship's movement.

"A U.S. Navy ship sailed through the Taiwan Strait southbound heading to the Bashi Channel while conducting freedom of navigation operations," the MND statement said, without giving more details.

According the MND, the transit by the USS Chancellorsville is the ninth time the U.S. Navy has sailed through the Taiwan Strait this year, and the first since September.

Some analysts have suggested that the transits by U.S. Navy ships send a signal to China as Beijing steps up its pressure campaign against Taiwan.

The Chancellorsville is expected to leave Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) before noon Wednesday, Taiwan's Defense Minister Yen De-fa (嚴德發) told reporters Wednesday morning before attending a legislative hearing.

(By Emerson Lim)
Enditem/AW