Freedom of navigation: Two U.S. destroyers make passage through Taiwan Strait

Freedom of navigation: Two U.S. destroyers make passage through Taiwan Strait
Destroyer USS Mustin (DDG-89). USN, MC3 Kelsey L. Adams

[Ed. – The Strait of Taiwan includes international waters by any definition, but China wants to exercise an acknowledged veto over use of the strait, by demanding prior notification — and essentially, by requiring transiting ships to get permission from China.  That’s not how international waters work.  The U.S. continues to reinforce that point.  As the USNI blog post suggests, there was something of a hiatus during the Obama years.  But Trump has turned that around.]

Two U.S. guided missile destroyers transited the Taiwan Strait this weekend, a U.S. defense official confirmed to USNI News on Saturday.

The Japan-based destroyers, USS Mustin (DDG-89) and USS Benfold (DDG-65), entered the 110-mile wide strait between mainland China and Taiwan on Saturday local time.

“Two U.S. Navy ships conducted a routine transit through the international waters of the Taiwan Strait on July 7-8,” U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Charlie Brown told USNI News on Saturday. “U.S. Navy ships transit between the South China Sea and East China Sea via the Taiwan Strait and have done so for many years.” …

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The transit of Benfold and Mustin is the first U.S. Navy transit of the Taiwan Strait since July 2017.

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