Navy destroyer USS Russell passes through Taiwan Strait

June 5 (UPI) -- The Navy destroyer USS Russell completed a transit of the Taiwan Strait, the waterway between China and Taiwan, on Thursday and Friday, officials said.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer made the voyage days after China's newest aircraft carrier, Shangdong, left the area and sailed northward for sea trials in the Yellow Sea.


"Russell conducted a Taiwan Strait transit June 4 to 5 [local time] in accordance with international law," said Cmdr. Reann Mommsen,U.S. 7th Fleet spokesperson, told USNI.

"The ship's transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows," Mommsen said.

The Navy has increased its vigilance of the strait,as China announced plans to conduct summer war exercises in the area.

The USS McCampbell, also a guided missile destroyer, made a similar trip through the strait on May 13. The Navy's increased presence in the region is meant as a signal that the United States is committed to free and open waterways.

China has pressed sovereignty claims in the nearby South China Sea, and has long regarded Taiwan as a breakaway province to eventually be turned to governance by Beijing.


Although the United States never officially supported the concept of Taiwan as a nation, the U.S. State Department has cited a strong bond and "unofficial relations" with Taiwan.

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