Amid escalating cross-strait tensions, a U.S. missile destroyer sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, while 15 Chinese military aircraft were found entering Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on the same day.
The U.S. 7th Fleet said in a statement that USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, conducted a “routine Taiwan Strait transit” through international waters in accordance with international law.
The statement added that the transit demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”
“The United States military will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” it wrote.
The latest move marked the fourth Taiwan passage of U.S. battleships since President Joe Biden assumed office in January.
A spokesperson of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army voiced “firm opposition” to the transit, saying that America has “sent wrong messages to Taiwan independence advocates, intentionally manipulating the cross-strait situation, and undermining the peace and stability at the Strait.”
The PLA would remain alert and is ready for any threatening or provoking actions, he doubled down.
Meanwhile, Beijing kept up its pressure on Taiwan on the same day as the PLA sent 15 warplanes into the island’s air defense identification zone, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry.
They included a Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft detected near Orchid island, which was suspected of collecting data of Taiwan’s missile tests in the area.
The PLA spokesperson said the military activity near the self-governed island was “totally legitimate” and necessary in safeguarding China’s sovereignty.
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