For the second time in two weeks, the US Navy has sent a warship through the Taiwan Strait in what the Pentagon dubbed a "routine Taiwan Strait transit".
It happened Sunday, also confirmed by Taiwan's Defense Ministry, just over a week following a reported Chinese PLA military build-up and war games in the area, especially on the mainland coast.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey sailed through without incident, though however "routine" the US might want to frame the mission, the potential for an unintended incident or clash with Chinese forces remains high, especially given the recent U-2 spy plane incident, which Beijing said breached a 'no fly zone' over PLA live fire drills.
China warned of the breach a week ago that the US risked causing an “unexpected incident” through its “naked provocation” and unsafe flights in the region of the South China Sea. It fired four cruise missiles into the South China Sea in a rare, significant warning in the form of a "test".
Concerning the latest US warship transit, US Seventh Fleet representative Reann Mommsen said, "The ship's transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows," according to Reuters.
It took a southerly path and made its way further south, according to Taiwan defense officials.
Given the increased military "traffic" in the tense region, we should note that Beijing and Taipei actually agree on one thing, as related by Reuters: "Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen warned last week of the risk of accidental conflict from the rise in military activities."