The US Navy sailed its guided-missile destroyer, the USS Milius, through the Taiwan Strait on Monday as part of a "freedom of navigation" exercise just days after China's large-scale military drills around Taiwan, reported Reuters.
According to the Navy's 7th Fleet, the USS Milius conducted a "routine Taiwan Strait transit" through waters "where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law."
Last week, Beijing initiated a three-day military exercise around Taiwan on April 8, simulating targeted strikes and an island blockade. The drills were in reaction to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's meeting with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier this month.
The 7th Fleet tweeted images of the destroyer sailing through the strait.
USS Milius (DDG 69) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit April 16 (local time) through waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law.— 7th Fleet (@US7thFleet) April 17, 2023
Click here to read more:https://t.co/kVeETF1HUi pic.twitter.com/IzEOPA1T0Y
"The ship transited through a corridor in the Strait beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State," the Navy said. It added the mission demonstrated the US commitment to a free and open Asia-Pacific region.
In response, the Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese military reported that they were monitoring the movements of the US warship.
According to a statement from the Eastern Theater Command's spokesperson Shi Yilu, China stands ready at any time to "resolutely safeguard the country's sovereignty, safety, and regional peace and stability."
Meanwhile, Taiwan's defense ministry said it detected 18 Chinese military warplanes and four naval vessels operating around the island.