U.S. Navy destroyer USS Halsey sails through Taiwan Straits

TAIPEI (GDC) — The U.S. Navy has sent another guided-missile destroyer through the Taiwan Strait, its second transit there in less than two weeks.

The USS Halsey on Sunday sailed through the strait on a “routine transit” to demonstrate “the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. Joe Keiley said in an email Tuesday.

“The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” Keiley said.

The trip came just 12 days after the USS Mustin sailed through the 110-mile-wide strait that separates the island of Taiwan from China. The Halsey’s transit marked the 11th time the Navy has sent a ship through the Taiwan Strait this year.

China regularly objects to Navy trips through the strait. Beijing asserts sovereignty over those waters and over Taiwan, a self-governing island with its own elected government.

The U.S. regards the strait as international waters and acknowledges China’s claim to Taiwan under its “One China” policy but views the island’s status as unsettled. Taiwan split from mainland China in 1949.

In a press conference Aug. 21, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian called the One China principle “the most important and sensitive issue between China and the US.” He did not mention recent Taiwan Strait transits.

“The one-China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations and a common consensus of the international community,” Zhao said.

With 11 trips in 2020, the U.S. has nearly met its record of 12 Taiwan Strait transits in a single year. That record was set in 2016, according to data the Pacific Fleet provided earlier this year.

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