U.S. ship crosses Taiwan Strait amid tension and days after Chinese military exercises
The U.S. Navy reported Monday that its guided-missile destroyer USS Milius has passed through the Taiwan Strait, in what it has described as a “routine transit,” amid tensions in the region and a week after the Chinese military completed military maneuvers near the island.
The U.S. Seventh Fleet, through a statement, has noted that the transit has taken place in “waters in which the freedoms of navigation and overflight on the high seas in accordance with international law”.
“The vessel has transited a corridor of the Strait which is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State,” continues the missive, which notes that this action “demonstrates the commitment of the United States to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Thus, the U.S. Navy has been keen to emphasize that the “U.S. Army flies, sails and operates anywhere where permitted by international law.”
These actions come a week after China announced that it had “successfully” completed its military exercises around Taiwan following the deployment of an aircraft carrier in its vicinity.
The maneuvers, which lasted for three days, allowed the Chinese Army to conduct various exercises, test its capabilities, simulate attacks and implement a possible blockade of the island.
The escalation of tensions in the region began with the trip to the island by the now former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, in August of last year, although have rebounded following the meeting between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing Wen and the current Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy. Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but China considers the territory under its sovereignty.