US guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) completed a routine Taiwan Strait transit through international waters on Monday, the US Navy said.
The November 22 transit by the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer marked the eleventh such maneuver completed by US Navy ships this year.
The US 7th Fleet noted the operation was in accordance with international law. Taiwan’s military also regularly monitors these transits, which are mostly performed by ships assigned to the US Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet.
“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows,” the navy said in a release.
A Chinese Type 054A frigate closely followed the US destroyer during the transit, according to the South China Sea Probing Initiative.
China has also responded to the operation, with its military saying that the transit of USS Milius “was creating security risks and undermining regional stability.”
A military spokesman said China “would take all necessary steps to counter all threats and provocations, and safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
USS Milius conducted the maneuver as Chinese aircraft continue to fly in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). The frequency of these flights has eased down since it peaked in October, with two record-operations that saw close to 40 military aircraft enter Taiwan’s ADIZ on two consecutive days.