US Warship Transits Taiwan Strait a Week After Large Chinese Air Incursion

US Warship Transits Taiwan Strait a Week After Large Chinese Air Incursion
The U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur patrols in the Philippine Sea on Aug. 15, 2013. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Declan Barnes/Handout via Reuters)

BEIJING/TAIPEI—A U.S. warship has again sailed through the sensitive waterway that separates Taiwan from China, a week after the self-ruled island reported the largest incursion here to date of Chinese air force jets in Taiwan’s air defence zone.

The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur conducted a “routine Taiwan Strait transit” on Tuesday in accordance with international law.

“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The Chinese regime condemned the United States on Wednesday as the region’s greatest security “risk creator.” The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said their forces monitored the vessel throughout its passage and warned it.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the ship had sailed in a northerly direction through the strait and the “situation was as normal”.

The same ship transited the strait a month ago, prompting the Chinese regime to accuse the United States of threatening peace and stability.

The latest mission comes around a week after Taiwan said 28 Chinese air force aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the largest reported incursion to date.

That incident followed the Group of Seven (G-7) leaders issuing a joint statement scolding the Chinese regime for a series of issues and underscoring the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

The U.S. Navy has been conducting such operations in the Taiwan Strait every month or so.

The United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with democratic Taiwan but is its most important international backer and a major seller of arms.

Military tension between Taiwan and Beijing have spiked over the past year, with Taipei complaining of China repeatedly sending its air force into Taiwan’s air defense zone.