Wed, Jan 30, 2019 - Page 3 News List

US warships have right to navigate the Strait: admiral

Staff writer, with CNA, WASHINGTON

Chief of US Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson talks to reporters on regional security issues in Tokyo Jan. 18.

Photo: AP

The Taiwan Strait is international waters and US warships have the right to pass through the waterway, US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said on Monday.

Richardson was responding to questions at a forum held by Washington-based think tank the Brookings Institution about how the US interacted with China when two US Navy ships passed through the Strait last week.

When US warships pass through the Strait, all parties concerned have responded professionally, he said, adding: “There is no concern there.”

Asked whether the US would send aircraft carriers through the Strait, Richardson sidestepped the question, saying only that the Strait is international waters and anything that can be done in international waters applies to it.

The US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell and fleet replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl transited the Strait on Thursday last week.

The Ministry of National Defense said that it was the fourth time the US Navy has sent vessels through the Strait since July last year, following similar operations in October and November.

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan later that day confirmed in an e-mailed response to the Central News Agency that two US Navy ships had transited between the South China Sea and East China Sea via the Taiwan Strait.

“This routine transit through international waters of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Logan wrote.

“The US will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” he added.

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