The US sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday in the latest military provocation aimed at Beijing. The US Navy’s Seventh Fleet said the guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn made the passage.
The maneuver marks the third such passage of Biden’s presidency, a sign that the new administration will keep up the military activity in the region. In 2020, the Trump administration sailed 13 warships through the Taiwan Strait, the highest number of passages since at least 2007.
As usual, Beijing denounced the US maneuver. “The US ship’s passage sent a wrong message,” said Zhang Chunhui, a senior colonel in China’s People’s Liberation Army. “Such [actions] serve not only to disrupt the regional situation but also endanger stability in the Taiwan Strait, which we resolutely oppose.”
The Biden administration has also continued sailing warships near Chinese-claimed islands in the South China Sea to challenge Beijing, maneuvers known as Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs). The last FONOP to challenge China’s claims took place on February 17th, the second of the Biden administration. President Trump carried out nine FONOPs in the South China Sea in 2020, a record high.
Biden’s Pentagon is currently reviewing its posture in Asia as part of an overall review of the military’s China policy. US Indo-Pacific command has submitted a $27 billion wishlist to Congress to be spent from 2022 to 2027 to confront China in the region.