An American warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, the US Navy said, in a move likely to anger Beijing.
The guided missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon “conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit Jan. 5 (local time) through waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law,” the Navy said in a statement.
“Chung-Hoon’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows,” it added.
Taiwan lives under constant threat of an invasion by China, which claims the self-ruled, democratic island as part of its territory to be seized one day — by force if necessary.
Washington diplomatically recognizes Beijing over Taipei, but maintains de facto relations with Taiwan and supports the island’s right to decide its own future.
Tensions in the Taiwan Strait soared to their highest level in years in August 2022 after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, with Beijing staging days of air and sea exercises around the island.