Chinese Military Monitors US Warship’s Transit Through Taiwan Strait

The US sent a destroyer through the Strait as it's conducting major drills with the Philippines in the region

The Chinese military said that it monitored the transit of a US Navy Destroyer that sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, which came as the US and the Philippines are conducting major drills in the region.

Col. Li Xi, spokesman for the Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command, condemned the USS Halsey’s transit and said Chinese air and naval forces monitored the ship throughout the “entire process.”

“Troops in the theatre remain on high alert at all times and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability,” Li said, according to The South China Morning Post.

The US frequently sails warships through the Taiwan Strait and frames the transits as routine even though it’s highly provocative toward Beijing. The US Navy’s Seventh Fleet said the USS Halsey “conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit on May 8 through waters where high-seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law.”

The US last sent a warship through the Taiwan Strait on March 5. On April 16, a US Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane flew over the sensitive waterway.

The US and the Philippines are conducting their annual Balikatan military exercises, which have included drills in the Batanes, the Philippines’ northernmost islands, to simulate a potential conflict over Taiwan. US Marines deployed to the island of Mavulis, which is only 88 miles south of Taiwan.

The US-Philippine exercises have also included drills in the South China Sea, where tensions are soaring between Manila and Beijing over disputed rocks and reefs. The area has become a potential flashpoint for a war between the US and China as Washington has repeatedly reaffirmed that the US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty applies to attacks on Philippine vessels in the South China Sea.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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