A US warship sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, the second such passage under the Biden administration. The US Navy’s Seventh Fleet said the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur made the provocative maneuver.
Beijing denounced the provocation. “The move artificially creates risk factors in the Taiwan Strait, deliberately undermines regional peace and stability, we are firmly opposed to this,” a spokesperson for China’s People’s Liberation Army said.
Earlier this month, the USS John McCain, another guided-missile destroyer, steamed through the Taiwan Strait. After sailing through the Strait, the McCain conducted what the US calls a Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) near the Chinese-claimed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.
As part of its hardline China policies, the Trump administration stepped up passages through the Taiwan Strait. In 2020, the US sailed warships through the Taiwan Strait 13 times, the most maneuvers since at least 2007, according to the South China Sea Probing Initiative.
Besides the FONOPs and the Taiwan Strait passages, the Biden administration has also sent aircraft carriers into the region. Two US aircraft carrier strike groups entered the South China Sea earlier this month, conducting rare dual-carrier drills.