TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. Navy early on Thursday (May 14) posted pictures of one of its warships sailing through the sensitive Taiwan Strait for the sixth time this year.
The passage took place on Wednesday (May 13), when the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) steamed through the 180-kilometer-wide strait separating Taiwan and China as "part of ongoing operations in the Indo-Pacific," according to the post on the U.S Pacific Fleet Facebook page.
The vessel was sailing southward off Taiwan's west coast but did not make known its destination. Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense later issued a statement, noting that it was fully aware of the transit, which it characterized as routine.
It was the sixth such transit of the strait by an American warship so far this year. U.S. naval vessels passed through the area a total of nine times last year, according to CNA.
The operation followed reports on Monday (May 12) of a Chinese military exercise scheduled for August in the South China Sea to simulate an invasion of the Taiwan-controlled Dongsha Islands (Pratas Islands).
Also on Wednesday (May 13), a littoral combat ship was operating in the southern reaches of the South China Sea. The Pacific Fleet said it was the second time in a week this type of vessel had patrolled those waters in support of "freedom of navigation and overflight."