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Saturday, July 24, 2021

China Condemns Latest US Warship Transit of Taiwan Strait

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 23, 2021

The guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) steams through the Philippine Sea Aug. 19, 2013. (Photo: Ramon G. Go / U.S. Navy)

The guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) steams through the Philippine Sea Aug. 19, 2013. (Photo: Ramon G. Go / U.S. Navy)

China condemned the United States on Wednesday as the region's greatest security "risk creator" after a U.S. warship again sailed through the sensitive waterway that separates Taiwan from China.

The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet said the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur conducted a "routine Taiwan Strait transit" on Tuesday in accordance with international law.

"The ship's transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific."

The People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command said their forces monitored the vessel throughout its passage and warned it.

"The U.S. side is intentionally playing the same old tricks and creating trouble and disrupting things in the Taiwan Strait," it said.

This "fully shows that the United States is the greatest creator of risks for regional security, and we are resolutely opposed to this".

Taiwan's Defense Ministry said the ship had sailed in a northerly direction through the strait and the "situation was as normal".

The same ship transited the strait a month ago, prompting China to accuse the United States of threatening peace and stability.

The latest mission comes around a week after Taiwan said 28 Chinese air force aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the largest reported incursion to date.

That incident followed the Group of Seven leaders issuing a joint statement scolding China for a series of issues and underscoring the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, comments China condemned as "slander".

The U.S. Navy has been conducting such operations in the Taiwan Strait every month or so.

The United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with democratic Taiwan but is its most important international backer and a major seller of arms.

Military tension between Taiwan and Beijing have spiked over the past year, with Taipei complaining of China repeatedly sending its air force into Taiwan's air defense zone.


(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

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