A U.S. guided-missile destroyer moved through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, marking the seventh transit of the waters this year by an American warship.
Destroyer USS Benfold (DDG-65) performed the transit, U.S. 7th Fleet announced.
“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows,” Japan-based 7th Fleet said in a news release.
USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54) performed the last Taiwan Strait transit in June, USNI News previously reported.
Benfold earlier this month performed a freedom of navigation operation near the Paracel Islands, USNI News reported at the time. China, Vietnam and Taiwan have all staked claims to the islands.
At the time, the Navy denied a claim from China that its military chased Benfold out of the South China Sea.
“The PLA(N)’s statement is the latest in a long string of PRC actions to misrepresent lawful U.S. maritime operations and assert its excessive and illegitimate maritime claims at the expense of its Southeast Asian neighbors in the South China Sea,” 7th Fleet said in a news release at the time. “The PRC’s behavior stands in contrast to the United States’ adherence to international law and our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. All nations, large and small, should be secure in their sovereignty, free from coercion, and able to pursue economic growth consistent with accepted international rules and norms.”
China regularly protests U.S. freedom of navigation operations and strait transits in the region.