The guided-missile destroyer Russell transited the Taiwan Strait this week, U.S. Navy officials said.
Russell conducted the transit on Thursday and Friday “in accordance with international law,” U.S. Pacific Fleet spokeswoman Lt. j.g. Rachel Maul said in an email. “The ship’s 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.
It was the second trip through the strait for a Navy warship in the past three weeks, as the McCampbell made the same trek on May 13, USNI News reported.
With Beijing claiming Taiwan as its own, and the United States continuing to assist the island without officially recognizing it as independent, such trips regularly irk the Chinese government.
After a similar U.S. Navy transit in January, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang warned that the United States should handle Taiwan-related issues “cautiously and properly so as to avoid damaging China-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the Associated Press quoted Geng as saying.
The White House approved a $180 million potential arms sale to Taiwan last month, a move that China’s Ministry of National Defense spokesman, Wu Qian, criticized in an article by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
Such a sale would jeopardize peace and stability across the strait, Wu said, according to Xinhua.
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“National rejuvenation and reunification are the aspirations of the people and an irresistible trend of the times, and on one and no force can stop it,” Xinhua quoted Wu as saying.
A White House report released last month, “United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China,” criticizes Beijing’s aspirations for Taiwan and beyond.
“The (Chinese Communist Party’s) expanding use of economic, political and military power to compel acquiescence from nation states harms vital American interests and undermines the sovereignty and dignity of countries and individuals around the world,” the report states.
About Geoff Ziezulewicz
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at email@example.com.