TAIPEI (The China Post) — Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND, 國防部) confirmed on Thursday that a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer had sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday for the seventh time since U.S. President Joe Biden assumed office in January.
The U.S. 7th Fleet said in a statement today that “The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit on July 28 (local time) through international waters 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,” it read.
All Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers have previously made their way through the Taiwan Strait since Biden became president.
The USS John S. McCain sailed through the waterway on Feb. 4 and April 7, while the USS Curtis Wilbur made its way through on Feb. 24, May 18, and June 22. Additionally, the USS John Finn navigated the waterway on March 10.
The U.S. has sent warships in the past few years because it wants to counterbalance China’s growing military presence in the Taiwan Strait, South China Sea, and all neighboring waters and show its commitment to maintaining peace and security with Asia.
However, according to Focus Taiwan, China was quick to criticize the U.S. naval passage as Shi Yi (施毅), a spokesperson for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (中國人民解放軍, PLA) Eastern Theater Command described “the maneuver as yet another provocative move by the U.S.”
“This just proves that the U.S. is disrupting all the peace and stability around the Taiwan Straits. They are the biggest reason for any security risks in the area,” Shi stated.
China believes that U.S. military presence helps to strengthen the current Taiwan administration and gives it a chance to pursue formal independence.
The U.S. also sent aircraft through the Taiwan Strait during Trump’s presidency since Washington and Taipei established closer ties.
Focus Taiwan reported that the U.S. government trusts that its military decisions are under its right to “freedom of navigation”.
They also believe that their military maneuvers are necessary deterrents as a result of China increasing its military activity in the region for the past two years, the media wrote.