USS Chung-Hoon
The USS Chung-Hoon. Navy photo

A Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Thursday, part of what the U.S. military calls routine activity but which angers China.

In a statement, the Defense Department said the Pearl Harbor-based USS Chung-Hoon carried out the transit.

“Chung-Hoon’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the statement added.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is named for the first Asian American to graduate from the Naval Academy and is one of 50 Navy warships equipped to shoot down ballistic missiles.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the ship sailed in a northerly direction through the strait, that its forces had monitored its passage and observed nothing out of the ordinary.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

In recent years, U.S. warships, and on occasion those from allied nations such as Britain and Canada, have sailed through the strait, drawing the ire of China, which claims Taiwan against the objections of its democratically elected government.

The United States has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is bound by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

Reuters contributed to this article.


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Ellen Bullock