Guided-Missile Cruiser, USS John S McCain, Transits Taiwan Strait

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain steamed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, US Navy’s first trip through the contested waters for 2021.

Lt. Joe Keiley, spokesperson for the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, said that the transit was done in accordance with international law, in a freedom of navigation exercise.

“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait 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,”  said Keiley.

The Taiwan Strait separates mainland China from Taiwan but despite the division, China regularly asserts that foreign vessels must first ask permission before sailing through.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a media briefing that his country had been “closely” monitoring the warship which was based in Japan.

“China will continue to maintain a high level of alert at all times, respond to all threats and provocations at all times, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Wang. 

McCain and a second destroyer, the USS Curtis Wilbur, last went through the strait during the new year.

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