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Two U.S. Navy vessels passed through the Taiwan Strait early on Tuesday, the second such transit made this year by U.S. military ships, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND).
The U.S. Department of Defense later confirmed that the USS Stethem destroyer and the USNS Cesar Chavez cargo ship were the two vessels to transit through the Strait.
CNA reports that Taiwan’s MND said the ships sailed into the Taiwan Strait from the southwest on Monday, heading north before exiting the Strait early Tuesday morning.
The move comes just over one month after the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell and the USNS Walter S. Diehl sailed through the Strait on Jan. 24.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are nearing a potential deal to end their months-long trade war, and Trump is set to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam this week.
The U.S. Navy has sailed ships through the Strait far more frequently since July 2018. The U.S. maintains the passages are regular transits through international waters, but the incidents regularly upset Beijing, which claims the Taiwan Strait as a Chinese waterway.
A U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson offered a statement similar to that which the Pentagon offers after each sailing, this time courtesy of Pentagon spokesman Dave Eastburn, who said: “This routine transit through international waters of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
“The U.S. Department of Defense will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” he continued.
Other news from Taiwan:
► Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) told legislators the military is prepared to hold off China, although he remained coy about the military’s offensive capabilities. (Taipei Times)
► A Taiwanese Students’ Association promotional stall was vandalized last week at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The Republic of China flag was replaced with that of the People’s Republic of China. (Hong Kong Free Press)
► Ruentex Industries Ltd. announced it will close a textile plant, affecting 303 employees including 141 migrant workers who will be laid off. (CNA)
► The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) says it has put into effect new early warning measures to detect signs of child abuse. The ministry says the new measures were first implemented in January. (CNA)
► President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) opened the first closed testing ground for self-driving cars in Taiwan yesterday, the Taiwan CAR (connected, autonomous and road-test) Lab in Tainan. (Taipei Times)
Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)
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