Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56)
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56)

US Navy 7th Fleet Guided Missile Destroyers Transit Taiwan Strait

The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit December 31 (local time) in accordance with international law. The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows. The U.S. Navy said in statement that the transit through the strategic strait, which separates Taiwan and China, was in accordance with international law.

Cmdr. Ryan T. Easterday, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) scans the horizon from the bridge wing as the ship conducts routine underway operations in support of stability and security for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Cmdr. Ryan T. Easterday, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) scans the horizon from the bridge wing as the ship conducts routine underway operations in support of stability and security for a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Markus Castaneda)

Earlier this month, U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) conducted a routine transit through the strategic strait. Like the previous transits by U.S. Navy vessels through the strait, this one will also likely anger China which considers Taiwan as a wayward province of “one China”. John S. McCain and Curtis Wilbur are underway conducting operations in the Indo-Pacific, while assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force. On Dec. 22, McCain performed a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands, which Taiwan, China and Vietnam have all claimed as their own.

Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Jonni Melo, left, from New York, and Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Nicole Zapata, from Tampa, Florida, stand watch in the pilot house aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) while the ship conducts routine underway operations in support of stability and security for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Jonni Melo, left, from New York, and Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Nicole Zapata, from Tampa, Florida, stand watch in the pilot house aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) while the ship conducts routine underway operations in support of stability and security for a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Markus Castaneda)
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