A U.S. Navy warship has transited the strategic Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and China, on Nov. 12 in a move likely to anger China.
The transit was conducted by the Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) homeported at U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka in Japan.
“Guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit Nov. 12 (local time) in accordance with international law”, said Cmdr. Reann Mommsen, spokesperson for the U.S. 7th fleet.
“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific”, he added.
The Taiwan Strait transit was the ninth by the U.S. Navy this year. The last one occurred in late September, when the USS Antietam, another guided-missile cruiser conducted a similar transit.
Taiwan is among a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom-of-navigation patrols, according to the Reuters report.
Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department has recently approved the sale of 66 F-16C/D Block 70 fighter aircraft, along with related equipment and support, to Taiwan for an estimated cost of $8 billion. The sale of M1A2T Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs), and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, worth around $2.2 billion, was also cleared.
These announcements angered China which considers Taiwan as a wayward province of “one China”.