U.S. destroyer transits Taiwan Strait on June 4

06/05/2020 10:36 AM
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Image from U.S. 7th Fleet Facebook page
Image from U.S. 7th Fleet Facebook page

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) A United States destroyer transited the Taiwan Strait on routine operations on Thursday, the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China, according to Taiwan's defense ministry and the U.S. 7th Fleet.

"The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS RUSSELL (DDG-59) transits the Taiwan Strait, June 4," a post on the fleet's official Facebook read.

"Russell is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific," it said. The 7th Fleet is affiliated with the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Friday that the American warship sailed southbound through the strait on regular operations a day earlier. It has been closely monitoring the vessel's movement, the ministry added.

This was the seventh U.S. naval ship to transit the strait this year, compared to a total of nine in 2019; and it was the first time the DDG-59 passed through the strait since July 2018, according to the MND.

The ministry did not start regularly releasing information on the movements of U.S. navel ships in the strait until July 2018.

The previous U.S. warship to transit the strait was the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer McCampbell on May 13, according to the U.S 7th Fleet.

The Tiananmen Square massacre, also known as the June Fourth Incident, occurred on June 4, 1989 in Beijing, when thousands of student-led demonstrators calling for democracy, free speech and a free press in China were brutally crushed by the military.

Thousands of people attended a vigil in Taipei Thursday to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the event, demanding the Chinese government redress the wrongs of the incident and expressing support for democracy in Hong Kong and China.

(By Matt Yu and Elizabeth Hsu)

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