Destroyer USS John Finn Performs First Taiwan Strait Transit of 2024

January 24, 2024 11:25 AM
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG 113) conducts a sea and anchor detail in Yokosuka, Japan, Jan. 8. U.S. Navy Photo

USS John Finn (DDG-113) performed the first Taiwan Strait transit of the 2024 calendar year on Wednesday.
“The ship transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State,” U.S. 7th Fleet said in a statement. “John Finn‘s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to upholding freedom of navigation for all nations as a principle. No member of the international community should be intimidated or coerced into giving up their rights and freedoms.”

The destroyer sailed from the north of the strait to the south, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense.

The transit comes two and a half weeks after Taiwan’s presidential election, in which the island elected Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party, which has ruled Taiwan since 2016. Lai has been the vice president under President Tsai Ing-wen since 2020.

John Finn, a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, is part of the forward-deployed naval forces in Yokosuka, Japan, having moved to its new homeport in March 2023. The destroyer is part of Commander, Task Force 71 (CTF-71) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15.

The U.S. periodically conducts Taiwan Strait transits, which China’s military frequently protests. In November, U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS Rafael Peralta (DDG-115) and Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Ottawa (FFH-341) moved through the strait while monitored by Chinese ships and aircraft. The People’s Liberation Army at the time said the U.S. “hyped up” the transit.

The U.S. also conducts P-8A reconnaissance flights through the strait, which receive protests from China. In July, China’s Ministry of National Defense said the U.S. “hyped publicly” a P-8A transit through the strait, USNI News reported at the time. The U.S. Navy last publicly disclosed a P-8A flight through the Taiwan Strait in early December.

Chinese ships and aircraft consistently operate around Taiwan. As of 6 a.m. local time on Wednesday, five People’s Liberation Army Navy ships and seven PLA aircraft were operating around the island, according Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense.

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

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox