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US destroyer transits Taiwan Strait for 2nd time in month

7th Fleet's USS Barry again sails southward through Taiwan Strait amid heightened tensions with China

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USS Barry 

USS Barry  (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A U.S. warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday (April 23) for the second time this month.

The ship transited the strait on a southward course Thursday, according to a statement by Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND). The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet identified it to Reuters as the USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer.

Previously, the USS Barry had also plied the strait on April 11, the same day a Chinese aircraft carrier group led by the Liaoning was spotted on the opposite side of Taiwan, in the Miyako Strait.

The MND stated that it was constantly monitoring the nation's airspace and maritime borders and pointed out that the Barry appeared to have conducted a routine freedom of navigation operation.

However, the transit by the destroyer comes amid increased U.S. military activity in the region and marks the 13th time since late March that a Navy plane or vessel has passed near Taiwan.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, two U.S. Navy warships — the 257-meter amphibious assault ship the USS America and the guided-missile cruiser the USS Bunker Hill — were confirmed to be operating in the South China Sea after a Chinese research ship was reported surveying near a Malaysian oil exploration vessel, raising tensions in the disputed waters, reports said.