US vessels defy China and sail through Taiwan Strait

It was the third Taiwan Strait transit by US military in 2019, and the sixth in nine months.

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Curtis Wilbur (Credit: US Navy)

Curtis Wilbur (Credit: US Navy)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Two U.S. military vessels passed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday (March 24), the third transit in 2019 and sixth in nine months.

The naval destroyer Curtis Wilbur destroyer and the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf demonstrated "commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific" region, according to a U.S. military statement. It added the U.S. will continue to transit by air or sea "anywhere international law allows."

U.S. vessels passed through the Taiwan Strait on Feb. 25 and Jan. 24. There were also transits in November, October and July of 2018. The transit in November was just a few days after Taiwan's local elections.

Reuters reported the move would be viewed in Taiwan as a sign of support from Washington amid mounting friction between Taipei and Beijing.