An American guided-missile destroyer and a Royal Canadian Navy frigate sailed through the Taiwan Strait in a tandem Saturday transit, U.S. 7th Fleet announced.
The Japan-based USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114) and HMCS Ottawa (FFH-341) passed through the strait after drilling with Japanese ships in the East China Sea, near Okinawa, USNI News reported on Friday.
“The ships transited through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state,” reads the statement.
“Ralph Johnson and Ottawa’s bilateral transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
During an exercise earlier this week, Ralph Johnson and Ottawa sailed with big deck helicopter carrier JS Izumo (DDH-183) and destroyer JS Samidare (DD-106) as part of the trilateral exercise Noble Stingray that included anti-submarine warfare drills.
A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation crew aboard Ottawa took footage of a People’s Liberation Army Navy guided-missile destroyer shadowing the formation. The Type 052D Luyang III guided-missile destroyer was identified as CNS Hohhot (161), according to the CBC report.
“The heavily armed Chinese destroyer, the Luyang, closely followed the convoy of ships in the East China Sea, calling out repeatedly to the Canadians on maritime radio, and coming within just over a kilometer of the allied ships,” reads the CBC report.
It’s unclear if Hohhot followed Ralph Johnson and Ottawa during their transit.
The last reported U.S. surface ship transit was by U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) in June.
The following is the complete Sept. 9, 2023, statement from U.S. 7th Fleet.
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) and Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit September 9 (local time) through waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law. The ships transited through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state. Ralph Johnson and Ottawa’s bilateral transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region where aircraft and ships of all nations may fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.