US vessels sailed through Taiwan Strait Sunday: MND

USS Curtis Wilbur is seen in this file picture off the coast of Japan in 2011. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed on March. 25 that two American vessels sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, the third such transit this year.

A Navy combat ship and a Coast Guard vessel entered the Taiwan Strait from the southwest, heading north Sunday, the MND said in a statement but did not name the two ships.

The ministry did not provide any additional information on the transit, except to say that Taiwan’s military was fully aware of the situation.

According to a Reuters report earlier in the day, the two ships were identified as the Navy Curtis Wilbur destroyer and the Coast Guard Bertholf cutter.

“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Reuters said, quoting a U.S. military statement.

The passage of American military vessels through the waterway separating Taiwan and China was the third such operation this year, as the U.S. continued to increase the frequency of movement through the strategic waterway despite protests from China.

The previous two transits were by the guided missile destroyer the USS McCampbell and the replenishment oiler the USNS Walter S. Diehl on Jan. 24 and the USS Stethem destroyer and the USNS Cesar Chavex cargo ship Feb.25-26.

By Joseph Yeh