US Navy destroyer passes through Taiwan Strait; China calls move 'provocative'

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A U.S. Navy warship passed through the Taiwan Strait for the second time this year, provoking stern denunciation from China.

China criticized the “provocative” move after the guided-missile destroyer, the USS Ralph Johnson, entered the contested waters, according to a news release, Stars and Stripes reported.

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The naval ship’s thru-route was “routine,” 7th Fleet spokesman Lt. Nicholas Lingo said in a news release, Reuters reported.

The USS Ralph Johnson recently passed through the Taiwan Strait. Pictured is the USS Benfold, one of two U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyers that sailed through the Taiwan Strait on a previous occasion.

The USS Ralph Johnson recently passed through the Taiwan Strait. Pictured is the USS Benfold, one of two U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyers that sailed through the Taiwan Strait on a previous occasion.
(US Navy)

“The ship is transiting through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state, The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Lingo. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.”

“The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.”

— Lt. Nicholas Lingo, 7th Fleet spokesman

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Last year, U.S. ships would regularly pass through the Taiwan Strait — nearly once per month — but have not done so since November.

A pro-Ukraine protester holds a sign outside the Russian representative's office in Taipei, Taiwan, Feb. 26, 2022.

A pro-Ukraine protester holds a sign outside the Russian representative’s office in Taipei, Taiwan, Feb. 26, 2022.
(Getty Images)

Taiwan is also on a heightened state of alert, cautious China might use Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to invade its country.

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