In the midst of escalating regional tensions, US warships transited the Taiwan Strait for the eighth time this year, following a normal transit of the waterway by the Navy on Friday.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd passed through the Taiwan Strait on Friday, according to the US Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet.
The ship was accompanied by the National Security Cutter Munro of the United States Coast Guard.
The announcement described the movement as being “in accordance with international law” and is part of the U.S.’s commitment to “a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Most recently, the destroyer USS Benfold moved through the 110-mile strait that separates China and Taiwan in July.
China’s military said at the time it chased the U.S. warship away after it entered the Chinese-claimed waters near the disputed Paracel Islands. The U.S. has denied it violated China’s sovereignty.
China’s claim to the South China Sea and Taiwan, which it considers a breakaway province to be reunited with the mainland, has been a growing sense of tension with the U.S. and its allies.
Earlier in the week during a diplomatic trip, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris urged leaders of Vietnam to push back against China’s claims to the South China Sea and what she characterized as the Communist giant’s bullying of its neighbors.
On Tuesday, the Chinese military began a live ammunition training exercise in the South China Sea, the South China Morning Post reported.
The exercises were launched by China in response to a joint military drill by the U.S., Australia, India and Japan off the coast of Guam, the paper reported.
Yue Gang, a former People’s Liberation Army colonel, said that the drills are meant to send a message to the United States and its allies.
“When the U.S. steps up its presence in the region, China has to respond and show its muscle,” he said.