Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) transited the Taiwan Strait on Saturday.
Chancellorsville’s transit through the 110-mile wide body of water separating Taiwan from mainland China is the second such transit in a month. On January 16, USS Shiloh (CG-67) made a similar trip. Chancellorsville made a similar transit in November, according to the ship’s Facebook page.
“The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit February 15 (local time) in accordance with international law. The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” said Lt. Joe Keiley, a spokesperson for U.S. 7th Fleet, in an email to USNI News.
The Chinese government generally disapproves of such transits, often issuing statements urging the U.S. not to take what it would consider provocative moves in the region.
However, China opted to sail its newest aircraft carrier Shandong through the Taiwan Strait two weeks ahead of Taiwan’s presidential election. At the time, President Tsai Ing-wen, of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, was vying for re-election. She was subsequently elected to another term.
The U.S. maintains a complicated relationship with Taiwan. Officially U.S. policy does not support Taiwan becoming an independent nation, but the U.S. government maintains strong “unofficial relations” with Taiwan, according to the State Department.
The U.S. has “recognized the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, acknowledging the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China” since 1979, according to the U.S. State Department.
While the U.S. routinely sends warships through the Taiwan Strait, it’s been more than a decade since the Navy has sent an aircraft carrier through the strait.