U.S. warship sails through Taiwan Strait: MND

02/15/2020 10:41 PM
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) sailed through the Taiwan Strait in January. (Image taken from the U.S. Navy
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) sailed through the Taiwan Strait in January. (Image taken from the U.S. Navy's website at: www.navy.mil)

Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) A United States warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, marking the third appearance by U.S. military forces in the area this week, following two recent incidents in which Taiwan had to scramble its F-16 fighter jets to monitor the movements of Chinese warplanes, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND).

The ministry did not identify the warship, but said in a statement that the vessel was making a regular transit when it passed through the strait in a southerly direction Saturday morning.

It was the second time this year that a U.S. warship had sailed through the Taiwan Strait. The first time was on Jan. 17, when the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) made a similar journey, according to information revealed by the MND.

Such journeys also took place nine times last year and 3 times in 2018.

Based on recent announcements by the MND, this week has seen a comparatively high level of military activity in the seas and skies around Taiwan.

On Sunday and Monday, Chinese J-11 jet fighters, KJ-500 early warning aircraft and H-6 bombers flew over the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan and into the Western Pacific Ocean, before returning to their bases via the Miyako Strait to the northeast of Taiwan, the MND said.

Following the actions, the United States on Wednesday dispatched two B-52 Stratofortress bombers on southward flights off Taiwan's east coast, while an MJ-130J Commando II multi-mission combat transport plane flew over the Taiwan Strait, also heading south, the MND said.

Another American aircraft, a P-3 Orion anti-submarine and surveillance plane, appeared on Thursday in the skies off Cape Eluanbi on Taiwan's southern tip.

The MND did not provide an explanation for the uptick in military activity, other than to state that it is monitoring the movements, and they are not a cause for concern.

(By Matt Yu and Matthew Mazzetta)

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