UPDATED: U.S. Destroyer Transits Taiwan Strait

April 16, 2023 10:38 PM - Updated: April 17, 2023 7:19 AM
USS Milius (DDG-69) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit April 16, 2023. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated with a statement from the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command

A U.S. guided-missile destroyer sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, according to a statement by U.S. 7th Fleet.

Japan-based USS Milius (DDG-69), “conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit April 16 (local time) through waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law,” reads the statement from 7th Fleet.
“The ship transited through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State. Milius’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows.”

Contrary to international law, China requires permission from foreign warships to transit the strait.

The transit of Milius is the first announced Taiwan Strait transit since the guided-missile USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) made the passage in January, USNI News previously reported.

Milius sailed past the Paracel Island chain last month in a freedom of navigation operation that was protested by Chinese officials.

The transit comes a week after the People’s Liberation Army encircled Taiwan for a series of drills that included carrier sorties from aircraft carrier CNS Shandong (17).

The Chinese Joint Sword drills followed shortly after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen returned from a U.S. visit which included meeting McCarthy in California. After the end of the visit, the PLA simulated strikes and a blockade of Taiwan during the drills,” reported USNI News last week.

The Chinese drills included launching 80 J-15 Flying Shark fighter missions according to Japanese officials, reported USNI News at the time.

At the time Chinese officials said, “We firmly oppose all forms of official interaction between the United States and Taiwan and any visit by the leader of the Taiwan authorities to the United States in any name or under whatever pretext,” reads a previous statement from China’s Ministry of National Defense. “We firmly oppose the U.S. side’s contact with the Democratic Progressive Party authorities in any form, which violates the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiques.”

In a Monday statement, the PLA Eastern Command said the Chinese monitored the passage from Milius transit.

“The troops of the PLA Southern Theater Command will always stay on high alert and resolutely safeguard China’s national sovereignty and security and regional peace and stability,” reads a statement from Army Senior Col. Shi Yi.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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