Destroyer USS Mustin Transited Taiwan Strait, Chinese Aircraft Carrier Followed

December 21, 2020 1:49 PM - Updated: December 21, 2020 2:09 PM
USS Mustin (DDG-89) transits the Taiwan Strait on Aug. 18, 2020. US Navy Photo

A U.S. guided-missile destroyer moved through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, U.S. 7th Fleet said in a statement.

“The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG-89) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit Dec. 19 (local time) in accordance with international law,” the Navy said in a statement. “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Following Mustin’s move through the strait, Reuters reported that China’s new aircraft carrier on Sunday performed its own transit through the strait. Shandong conducted the transit while heading to train in the South China Sea, the Chinese navy said.

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy described the training as “normal arrangements made in accordance with annual plans,” according to the Reuters report.

Undated photo pf carrier Shandong. PLA Photo

“In the future, we will continue to [organize] similar operations based on training needs,” the PLAN said.

Taiwan dispatched its own aircraft and ships to observe China’s actions, according to the wire service report.

Shandong, the PLAN’s second carrier, initiated sea trials in late May, USNI News previously reported.

Mustin made a transit through the Taiwan Strait in August, right after the destroyer had participated in an exercise with Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces, USNI News reported at the time.

The U.S. has consistently maintained a presence in the South China Sea this year, as tensions with China remained high through the COVID-19 pandemic and the Trump administration’s continued criticism of Beijing.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

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