US sends first warship through Taiwan Strait since September

USS Chancellorsville's transit through Taiwan Strait 9th by US warship this year

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USS Chancellorsville. (Photo from www.defense.gov)

USS Chancellorsville. (Photo from www.defense.gov)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A U.S. cruiser sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday (Nov. 12), according to Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND).

Defense Minister Yen De-fa (嚴德發) on Wednesday (Nov. 13) said that the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville transited through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday and is expected to leave Taiwan's air defense identification area on Wednesday morning, reported CNA.

Fox News cited Cmdr. Reann Mommsen, a spokesperson for the U.S. 7th fleet, as saying "Guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit Nov. 12 (local time) 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." Mommsen added a defiant message to China, which cries foul whenever foreign navies sail through the strait: "The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows."

According to an MND press release issued on Wednesday morning, the U.S. cruiser sailed through the strait from north to south before exiting through the Bashi Channel. At a meeting of the Defense Committee in the Legislative Yuan on Wednesday, Yen said that the transit was a freedom of navigation voyage and part of the Trump administration's strategy to counter China's aggressive military posture in the Indo-Pacific, reported CNA.

The voyage by the USS Chancellorsville marks the ninth transit of a U.S. warship through the Taiwan Strait this year and the first since September. According to information released by the MND, the last time a U.S. warship traveled through the strait was on Sept. 20.