Feb. 4 (UPI) -- The USS John McCain transited through the Taiwan Strait Thursday, the Navy confirmed.
The Navy described the trip as "a routine Taiwan Strait transit" conducted in accordance with international law.
"The ship's transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows," the Navy said in a statement.
The United States regularly conducts freedom of navigation operations in the region, but Thursday's trip marks the first trip through the contentious waterway, which separates China from mainland Taiwan, this calendar year.
China's government, which considers Taiwan a breakaway province, contests that foreign vessels must first ask permission before traveling through the strait.
In late January, 15 Chinese aircraft entered Taiwanese airspace in a show-of-force the U.S. State Department described as part of a pattern of China's "attempts to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan."