US Navy Flies Plane Through Taiwan Strait After US-China Defense Chiefs Talk

Lloyd Austin spoke with China's defense minister for the first time since 2022

A US Navy Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane flew through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, a day after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held rare talks with his Chinese counterpart, Dong Jun.

The conversation between Austin and Dong marked the first time the two nations’ defense chiefs have held talks since 2022, as relations between the two major powers have plummeted. During the call, Austin made clear that the US military will maintain a presence in sensitive areas near China’s coast, saying the US “will continue to fly, sail, and operate—safely and responsibly—wherever international law allows.”

The US Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleeth reaffirmed Austin’s comments when announcing the flight through the Taiwan Strait. “The aircraft’s transit of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows,” the statement said.

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said it scrambled warplanes to monitor the US Navy plane’s transit through the Taiwan Strait. “Theater troops are on high alert at all times to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability,” said Col. Li Xi, spokesman for the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command.

The US frequently sends warships through the Taiwan Strait, but overflights are rarer. The last time the 7th fleet announced a flight through the sensitive waterway was December 6, and the last time a US warship sailed through the Strait was March 5.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.