A U.S. Navy vessel has transited the strategic Taiwan Strait, that separates Taiwan and China, amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The vessel, identified as San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD-20), conducted the transit on Friday, August 23. The Chinese government, earlier this month, had reportedly denied requests for port visits to Hong Kong by the USS Green Bay and USS Lake Erie, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser.
“USS Green Bay (LPD 20) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit Aug. 23 (local time) in accordance with international law,” Cdr. Reann Mommsen, a spokesperson for the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, said in a statement. “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
This is the second transit by a U.S. Navy vessel through the strategic strait in a month. The first was by Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG-54) which occurred on July 24-25.
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.
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 recently cleared.
The announcements angered China which considers Taiwan as a wayward province of “one China”.