U.S. warship sails through Taiwan Strait following China war games

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This handout from the US Navy taken and released on April 16, 2023 shows the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) conducting routine operations in the South China Sea.

This handout from the US Navy taken and released on April 16, 2023 shows the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) conducting routine operations in the South China Sea.

The U.S. warship USS Milius sailed through the Taiwan Strait on April 16, in what the U.S. Navy described on Monday as a “routine” transit, just days after China ended its latest war games around the island.

China, which views Taiwan as its own territory, officially ended its three days of exercises around Taiwan last Monday where it practiced precision strikes and blockading the island.

It staged the drills to express anger at Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, viewing it as an interference in China’s internal affairs and U.S. support for Taiwan’s separate identity from China

The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius conducted a “routine Taiwan Strait transit” through waters “where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law”.

The ship’s transit demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, it added.

The U.S. Navy sails warships through the strait around once a month, and also regularly conducts similar freedom of navigation missions in the disputed South China Sea.

Last week, the USS Milius sailed near one of the most important man-made and Chinese controlled islands in the South China Sea, Mischief Reef. Beijing denounced it as illegal.

China has continued its military activities around Taiwan since the drills ended, though on a reduced scale.

On Monday morning, Taiwan’s defence ministry said it had spotted 18 Chinese military aircraft and four naval vessels operating around Taiwan in the previous 24 hour period.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring democratically governed Taiwan under its control.

Taiwan’s government rejects China’s territorial claims, and says only the island’s people can decide their future.

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