a warship of we crossed the strait Taiwan on Saturdays, which the US military calls a routine activity, but which China described it as an act of “provocation”.
The US Navy’s 7th Fleet said the Earle Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson was making “regular” transit through international waters.
“The ship’s passage through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” 7th Fleet spokesman Nicolas Lingo said in a statement. “The US military flies, sails and operates wherever international law permits.”
The Eastern Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army monitored the route, which a spokesman called a “provocative act” in a statement.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said the ship had sailed north through the strait and that its forces had monitored the route and saw nothing out of the ordinary.
Taiwan is currently overly cautious about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, fearing that China will try to take advantage of the situation to make a move on the island, although the government has not reported any unusual Chinese maneuvers.
Last year, US Navy ships passed through the strait almost every month. This Saturday’s incident was the first since November.
China claims Taiwan is part of its territory and has repeatedly established air force missions in the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the past two years, causing outrage in Taipei.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said on Saturday that eight Chinese planes – six fighter jets and two anti-submarine aircraft – took off over ADIZ, northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Silver Islands, in the upper reaches of the South China Sea.
Like most countries, the US has no formal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, but is its most important international sponsor and arms supplier.