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U.S. Navy ship sails through Taiwan Strait, 9th transit so far this year

2021-09-19
Focus Taiwan
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Image taken from facebook.com/USNavy
Image taken from facebook.com/USNavy

Taipei, Sept. 18 (CNA) A U.S. Navy ship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Friday, marking the ninth time an American military vessel has transited through the strait after President Joe Biden took office in January.

In a statement, the U.S. Navy said the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Barry conducted a "routine" transit through the Taiwan Strait on Friday.

The U.S. Navy said the transit through international waters was conducted "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," the U.S. Navy added. "The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows."

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Saturday also confirmed the transit of the U.S. destroyer through the Taiwan Strait, saying it sailed from north to south.

The MND said the ministry has a full grasp of the situation and used joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance tools to monitor movements at sea and in the air around Taiwan.

It also described the situation in the skies above and waters around Taiwan as "normal" during the time of the U.S. warship's transit.

The U.S. destroyer's presence in the Strait happened on the same day that 10 Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Friday.

The Chinese planes' presence marked the 15th consecutive day that China's planes had entered the ADIZ. Such zones are drawn up by countries to help them identify, monitor and control aircraft, but are not recognized by international law and are considered international airspace.

The military maneuvers by China are seen by some analysts as a way for Beijing to send its message to Taipei and to warn against actions it sees as jeopardizing its hopes of unifying with Taiwan. Taiwan's government sees such moves as military threats.

The latest entry happened as Taiwan wrapped up its annual Han Kuang military drills that began on Monday, according to the ministry.

This year, Taiwan launched the Han Kuang military exercises by mobilizing fighter jets stationed in the western part of the main island to fly to the eastern part, in an apparent response to China's frequent entries into Taiwan's ADIZ.

Before the transit by the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Barry on Friday, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd and the legend-class U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter Munro conducted the "routine transits" through the Taiwan Strait on Aug. 27.

Earlier this year, the USS John S. McCain sailed through the waters on Feb. 4 and April 7; the USS Curtis Wilbur on Feb. 24, May 18 and June 22; the USS John Finn on March 10; and the USS Benfold on July 28.

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