Sat, Jan 18, 2020 - Page 1 News List

Military confirms US warship transited Strait

Staff writer, with CNA

The Ministry of National Defense and the US Seventh Fleet yesterday confirmed that a US Navy warship has sailed through the Taiwan Strait, less than one week after the presidential and legislative elections on Saturday last week.

The transit occurred on Thursday, with the US warship approaching from the southwest and sailing north through the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry did not identify the vessel, but said that it was conducting “normal” navigation operations and that the nation’s armed forces fully monitored its movement.

Seventh Fleet spokesman Joe Keiley confirmed the transit.

“The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit [on] Jan. 16 in accordance with international law,” Keiley said in a statement.

“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” he said.

The USS Shiloh is a ballistic missile defense cruiser stationed in Yokosuka, Japan.

The vessel’s transit through the Taiwan Strait came five days after the elections, in which President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who was seeking re-election, and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won landslide victories.

Following the elections, many foreign and domestic analysts predicted that Beijing would increase pressure on Taiwan.

Local lawmakers expressed different views on the US warship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait.

DPP Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) said that the transit showed Washington’s support for Taiwan’s democratic process, adding that the action provided a sense of security for Taiwanese.

DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that the timing of the transit could be read as the US telling China not to overreact to the results of the elections, as Beijing had issued harsh statements over the past few days.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip William Tseng (曾銘宗) said that US warships routinely transit the Taiwan Strait, part of which is international waters, therefore the voyage should not be given a political interpretation.

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