US says warships in Taiwan Strait on routine sailings

China | 23 Oct 2018 12:18 pm

The passage of two American warships through the Taiwan Strait yesterday was a routine transit and a demonstration of the United States' commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, the U.S. Department of Defense has said.

In an email response to CNA questions on the ships' movements, Christopher B. Logan of the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense identified the two vessels as the USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, and the USS Antietam (CG 54), a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser.

"USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) and USS Antietam (CG 54) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit on October 22, in accordance with international law," he said in the email sent Monday U.S. time.

"The ships' transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows," he said.

The DoD's comments came after Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense confirmed on Monday that two U.S. Navy vessels sailed into the Taiwan Strait from the south and were continuing on a northeasterly course yesterday, without naming the two ships.

The passage of the vessels came at a sensitive time, as tensions mount between Washington and Beijing on issues related to trade as well as political and military matters.

Foreign media reported last week that the U.S. was considering sending at least two ships to navigate through the Taiwan Strait as a signal to Beijing that the U.S. military has the right to travel through international waters.

A similar passage was made in July when two U.S. Navy vessels, Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers DDG-89 and DDG-65, sailed through the Taiwan Strait.

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