China called the U.S. Navy's latest sail of a warship through the Taiwan Strait the region's most significant security "risk creator." The narrow waterway that separates Taiwan from China is a highly contested region.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet said Tuesday the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur "conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit June 22 (local time) through international waters 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 U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs added.
Forward-deployed #USNavy guided-missile destroyer #USSCurtisWilbur conducts routine Taiwan Strait transit: https://t.co/pz3DxAXmmc #DDG54 #FreeAndOpenIndoPacific @US7thFleet pic.twitter.com/e2R0phZFu4— U.S. Pacific Fleet (@USPacificFleet) June 22, 2021
However, the warship's transit was not well received by China. The People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command said it closely monitored the vessel as it sailed through the strait.
"The U.S. side is intentionally playing the same old tricks and creating trouble and disrupting things in the Taiwan Strait," said PLA Eastern Theater Command. This "fully shows that the United States is the greatest creator of risks for regional security, and we are resolutely opposed to this."
The transit comes after 28 warplanes breached Taiwan's air defense identification zone last week, the largest reported incursion to date.
Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific, as the great power competition between China and the U.S. continues to excite geopolitical watchers, the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group entered the South China Sea, a heavily contested body of water, last week.
Here is U.S. Navy's latest positioning worldwide via Stratfor.
Notably, in a seemingly unrelated event, Russia is conducting one of its largest Pacific military drills since the end of the Cold War, a few hundred miles off Hawaii's coast. At least 20 warships, submarines, fighter jets, and long-range bombers simulated sinking an aircraft carrier.
The Indo-Pacific region is an area to monitor as global superpowers conduct transits, drills, and stake their claim in highly disputed waters.