The U.S. sent a warship to the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, Feb. 27. The warship sent by the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Ralph Johnson.
7th. Fleet spokesperson Nicholas Lingo said, “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows.”
In response, the Eastern Theatre Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army said in a statement that the U.S. warship’s passage was a “provocative act.”
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said that the U.S. warship sailed in a northerly direction through the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan’s defense agency added that its forces had monitored the warship’s passage and noticed nothing unusual.
Reuters said that “Taiwan is currently in a heightened state of alert due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, nervous that China may try to take advantage of the situation to make a move on the island though the government has reported no unusual Chinese maneuvers.”
Last year, U.S. naval ships transited the Strait roughly every month. Saturday’s activity was the first since last November.
China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its territory and has carried out repeated air force intrusions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the past two years.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said eight Chinese aircraft—six fighters and two anti-submarine aircraft—entered its ADIZ on Saturday.