U.S. Navy ship sails through Taiwan Strait, 5th time under Biden

05/19/2021 10:54 AM
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Photo taken from facebook.com/DDG54
Photo taken from facebook.com/DDG54

Taipei, May 19 (CNA) A U.S. Navy destroyer transited the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday, the fifth time a U.S. battleship has navigated the waterway separating Taiwan and China since U.S. President Joe Biden assumed office in January.

"The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit May 18 (local time) in accordance with international law. The ship's transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific," the U.S. 7th Fleet said in a statement.

"The United States military will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows," it said.

U.S. warships, all Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, had made similar passages before Tuesday since Biden took office on Jan. 20 – the USS John S. McCain on Feb. 4 and April 17, the USS Curtis Wilbur on Feb. 24, and the USS John Finn on March 10.

The U.S. has sent warships into the region in recent years to counterbalance China’s growing military presence in the South China Sea and neighboring waters and show its continued commitment to Asia.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday confirmed the passage of a U.S. Navy destroyer through the Strait from north to south the previous day.

It said that during the ship's passage, the military used joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance tools to monitor movements at sea and in the air around Taiwan, and described the situation as normal.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Pacific Fleet posted a message on Facebook on Wednesday saying the U.S. 7th Fleet aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force guided-missile destroyer JS Maya sailed together during a recent training exercise in the Philippine Sea.

The post with several photos attached had the hastag #NavyPartnerships followed by Japan and U.S. flags.

(By Lin Hung-han, Chung Yu-cheng and Evelyn Kao)

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