U.S. destroyer sails through Taiwan Strait: MND

The USS McCampbell guided-missile destroyer sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday. (photo taken from facebook.com/USPacificFleet)

TAIPEI (CNA) — A United States military vessel sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed Thursday.

The transit came amid China’s continued military harassment of Taiwan, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The vessel sailed north via the Taiwan Strait, according to an MND statement, describing the trip as a “regular transit.”

“The Republic of China Armed Forces fully monitors the movement of ships and aircraft around our airspace and waters. No irregularities have been noticed,” the short statement said.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet, through its Facebook page, identified it as the USS McCampbell.

“The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) conducts underway operations in the Taiwan Strait,” said the U.S. Pacific Fleet in a caption of a photo dated March 25.

Other photos in the Facebook page showed an MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter taking off from the flight deck.

Meanwhile, a chart posted on Twitter by Aircraft Spots, an military air movement tracker, indicated that a U.S. Navy EP-3E aircraft was operating in the South China Sea near Taiwan Wednesday.

The reconnaissance plane remained in the airspace off Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung several times, according to the chart.

The appearances of U.S. military assets near Taiwan, including U.S. B-52 bombers, MC-130J transport planes and P-3C anti-submarine surveillance aircraft in February, were interpreted by observers as a counter-measure against China’s military maneuvers in the region.

China, which has not renounced the option of using military force to bring Taiwan under its control, has continued to harass the country, despite the worsening of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

On Feb. 9-10, a number of Chinese H-6 bombers and escort aircraft flew south of Taiwan and into the Western Pacific, briefly crossing the Taiwan Strait median line in the process, resulting in Taiwan’s Air Force having to scramble jet fighters to intercept and monitor their movements.

A similar incident took place March 16, in which China conducted its first night flight training mission southwest of Taiwan, and briefly approached Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone.

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