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US sails cruiser duo through Taiwan Strait after China tensions

US cruisers perform Taiwan Strait transit
US Navy photo of USS Antietam (CG 54) during underway operations

The US Navy has sailed two Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers through the Taiwan Strait in the first such action since China held massive military drills in the region earlier this month.

Cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) performed what the navy said was a routine Taiwan Strait transit on August 28 (local time) “through waters where high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight apply in accordance with international law.”

The service said these ships transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State. “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it was further said.

US Navy ships need several hours to transit the Taiwan Strait in operations that are regularly closely monitored by Chinese warships.

China’s Eastern Theater Command tracked the two cruisers, saying its troops were “ready to thwart any provocation at any time.”

What makes the August 28 transit stand out is the fact that it is the first such move since China held multiple maneuvers around Taiwan following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan early August.

This could also be the first time two guided-missile cruisers have performed the transit in tandem. Previous known tandem transits included Arleigh Burke-class destroyer duos, or destroyer-cruiser combinations.