The US Navy’s 7th Fleet said the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius conducted a ‘routine Taiwan Strait transit’ on Sunday, April 16 – just days after China ended its latest war games around the island.
Beijing launched three days of military exercises around Taiwan on April 8 in which it simulated targeted strikes and practiced a blockade of the island.
‘Milius’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,’ it said.
China, which views Taiwan as its own territory, officially ended its three days of exercises around Taiwan last week Monday, April 10 where it practiced precision strikes and blockading the island.
The drills were staged by China to express anger at Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, viewing it as an interference in China’s internal affairs and U.S. support for Taiwan’s separate identity from China.
China has never renounced the use of force to bring democratically governed Taiwan under its control.
Taiwan’s government rejects China’s territorial claims, and says only the island’s people can decide their future.
Chinese military’s Eastern Theatre Command said in a social media post on Monday, it organised troops to follow and monitor the U.S. destroyer throughout its operation.
The U.S. Navy sails warships through the Taiwan strait around once a month, and also regularly conducts similar freedom of navigation missions in the disputed South China Sea.
The 7th Fleet shared images on Twitter of crew looking out into the Taiwan Strait, one of the most crucial waterways in the world for international shipping.
‘The ship transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state,’ the Navy said, adding that the sail-through demonstrated the US’s commitment to a free and open Asia-Pacific region.
‘The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows.’