Taipei, Sep 18 (ANC) A U.S. Navy ship crossed the Taiwan Strait on Friday, marking the ninth time a U.S. military ship has passed through the strait after President Joe Biden took office in January.
In a statement, the US Navy said the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry made a “routine” transit through the Taiwan Strait on Friday.
The US Navy said the transit in international waters was “in accordance with international law”.
“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy added. “The US military flies, sails and operates wherever international law permits.”
The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense (DND) also confirmed the transit of the US destroyer through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, saying it was sailing from north to south.
The Department of National Defense said the department had a full understanding of the situation and had used joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tools to monitor movements at sea and in the air around Taiwan.
He also described the situation in the skies and waters around Taiwan as “normal” during the transit period of the US warship.
The U.S. destroyer’s presence in the strait occurred the same day 10 Chinese fighter jets landed in Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Friday.
The presence of Chinese planes marked the 15th consecutive day that Chinese planes had entered ADIZ. These zones are established by countries to help them identify, monitor and control aircraft, but are not recognized by international law and are considered international airspace.
China’s military maneuvers are seen by some analysts as a way for Beijing to send its message to Taipei and warn of actions it sees as jeopardizing its hopes for unification with Taiwan. The government of Taiwan considers these measures to be military threats.
The latest entry came as Taiwan wrapped up its annual Han Kuang military exercises that began on Monday, the ministry said.
This year, Taiwan launched the Han Kuang military exercises by mobilizing fighter jets stationed in the western part of the main island to fly to the eastern part, in apparent response to China’s frequent entries into Taiwan’s ADIZ.
Prior to the transit of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Barry on Friday, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd and the legendary US Coast Guard Munro-class conducted the “routine transits” through the Straits of Taiwan. August 27.
Earlier this year, the USS John S. McCain sailed the waters on February 4 and April 7; USS Curtis Wilbur on February 24, May 18 and June 22; USS John Finn on March 10; and the USS Benfold on July 28.