The USS Russell, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
It was the seventh U.S. Navy transit of the strait in 2020, and the second such passage in the past three weeks.
Taiwanese defense forces closely monitored the passage of the Russell and described it as an “ordinary mission,” according to the Defense Ministry.
The Chinese military spent the Tiananmen anniversary conducting live-fire exercises and amphibious landing drills intended to intimidate Taiwan. One of those exercises demonstrated the capability of Chinese cargo ships to dump dozens of tanks and armored fighting vehicles on islands that get funny ideas about declaring their independence from Communist tyranny.
USNI News noted that Russell’s transit also came hard on the heels of China launching its second aircraft carrier, Shandong, for sea trials. The Shandong passed through the Taiwan Strait in December.
“Russell conducted a Taiwan Strait transit June 4 to 5 (local time) in accordance with international law. The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows,” said a spokesman for the U.S. 7th Fleet.
The U.S. Navy has also been active in the South China Sea to counter Chinese aggression, prompting the Chinese government to issue an angry statement that America is “not a party to disputes” in the region, and is only looking to “stir up trouble” by sending warships there.