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U.S. Navy destroyer USS Benfold transits Taiwan Strait

By
Zarrin Ahmed
The guided missile destroyer USS Benfold, pictured, transited the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, marking the seventh trip through the water by American warships this year. File Photo by James Pinsky/UPI
The guided missile destroyer USS Benfold, pictured, transited the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, marking the seventh trip through the water by American warships this year. File Photo by James Pinsky/UPI | License Photo

July 29 (UPI) -- Destroyer USS Benfold moved through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, marking the seventh transit of the waters by American warships this year.

The move supports the United States's commitment to a "free and open Indo-Pacific," the Japan-based 7th Fleet said in a press release.

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The Benfold performed a navigation operation two weeks ago near the Paracel Islands, which China, Vietnam and Taiwan have all staked claims to.

China's military said it chased the warship away, but the U.S. denied charges of violations.

The last time the Benfold crossed the Taiwan Strait was in July 2018, just as tensions between the U.S. and China over trade were escalating.

The USS Curtis Wilbur crossed the 110-mile strait that separates China and Taiwan in June and in May.

The Navy routinely crosses the waterway, with the Chinese government condemning the presence of U.S. warships in the strait as provocative and causing "strong dissatisfaction" with the United States.

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