TAIPEI (CNA) — The Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed on March. 23 that two U.S. naval vessels sailed through the Taiwan Strait a day earlier, the fifth of such transits this year.

Two U.S. Navy ships entered the Taiwan Strait from the southwest heading north Wednesday, the MND said in a statement, without naming 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 destroyer USS Preble and the oil tanker USS Walter S.

Diehl, citing a U.S. military spokesman.

“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said in a statement.

This marks the fifth such transit made by U.S. naval vessels this year.

Previously commenting on such transits, Chen Wen-fan (陳文凡), deputy chief of the National Security Bureau, said U.S. vessels have regularly sailed through the strategic waters separating Taiwan and China on a monthly basis since this year.