A US Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday in the first US transit of the sensitive waterway of 2023. The US Navy’s Seventh Fleet said the USS Chung-Hoon made the passage.
Entering the new year, tensions between the US and China over Taiwan are rising as Washington continues to escalate support for Taipei, which Beijing views as an affront to the one-China policy.
The US Navy describes its passages through the Taiwan Strait as “routine,” but China views them as provocations. In recent years, the US has stepped up its Taiwan Strait transits and got some of its Western allies to do so as well, including France, Canada, and Britain.
When announcing a Taiwan Strait transit that took place in November, Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said the US sends a warship through the waterway about once a month. The Japan-based Seventh Fleet typically puts out a press release for each transit but hasn’t reported one since September, when a Canadian frigate joined a US Navy warship in the provocation.
China’s military activity in the region spiked in 2022 in response to growing US support for Taiwan. Following former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) visit to the island, China launched its largest-ever military drills around the island, which included a simulated blockade and firing missiles over Taiwan.