U.S. Cruiser Transits Taiwan Strait After China Calls to Stop Foreign Interference on Island

July 25, 2019 1:00 PM
USS Antietam (CG-54) underway on March 6, 2016. US Navy Photo

Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG-54) transited the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, a day after Chinese defense officials released a white paper vowing to defeat any attempts to sever Taiwan from the mainland.

The white paper, China’s National Defense in the New Era, addresses several security issues facing China’s government, including Taiwan’s status.

“We make no promise to renounce the use of force, and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures,” states the white paper. “This is by no means targeted at our compatriots in Taiwan, but at external interference forces and the very small number of Taiwan separatists and their activities.”

Wednesday, Antietam sailed through the Taiwan Strait, the narrow body of water separating Taiwan from the mainland, according to several media accounts and first reported by Reuters.

Typically, Chinese government officials protest the movement of foreign military vessels through the water. On Thursday, Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, addressed Antietam’s voyage during a regularly scheduled press briefing.

“China closely monitored from start to end the passage of the U.S. warship through the Taiwan Strait. We have expressed concerns to the U.S. side. The Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive one in China-U.S. relations. We urge the U.S. to observe the one-China principle … and deal with Taiwan-related issues properly and with caution so that they won’t undermine China-U.S. relationship and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Hua said, according to an English-language translation of the briefing’s transcript, released by the ministry.

Recent U.S. Taiwan Strait Transits:

Jul 7, 2018 USS Benfold (DDG-65), USS Mustin (DDG-92)
Oct 22, 2018 USS Antietam (CG-54), USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54)
Nov 28, 2018 USS Stockdale (DDG-106), USNS Pecos (T-AO-197)
Jan 24, 2019 USS McCampbell (DDG-85), USS Walter Dielh (T-AO-193)
Feb 25, 2019 USS Stethem (DDG-63), USNS Ceasar Chavez (T-AKE-14)
March 24, 2019 USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54), USCGC Bertholf (WSML-750)
April 28, 2019 USS Stethem (DDG-63), USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110)
May 23 USS Preble (DDG-88), USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO-193)
July 24, 2019 USS Antietam (CG-54)
Ben Werner

Ben Werner

Ben Werner is a staff writer for USNI News. He has worked as a freelance writer in Busan, South Korea, and as a staff writer covering education and publicly traded companies for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., Savannah Morning News in Savannah, Ga., and Baltimore Business Journal. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree from New York University.

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