A US Navy destroyer on Tuesday sailed through the Taiwan Strait to show the Washington’s “commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the 7th Fleet under the US Pacific Command said in a statement.
The ship, identified as an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the USS Sampson, made the transit as part of a “routine operation and was done in accordance with international laws,” it said.
“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it said. “The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows.”
The USS Sampson is one of the ships in Destroyer Squadron 21, a part of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group currently operating in the Philippine Sea.
The Ministry of National Defense later confirmed the transit, saying in a statement that the military was on top of the situation as the US warship sailed north in the Taiwan Strait, and did not detect any irregularities.
The latest transit was the fourth time this year a US warship has transited the narrow waterway separating Taiwan and China.
The last transit was made by the USS Ralph Johnson on Feb. 26.
The Chinese military yesterday condemned the US over the transit.
“The United States frequently carries out such provocative actions, sending wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces, and deliberately undermining the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait. We firmly oppose it,” the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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