US Navy says its destroyer conducted transit in Taiwan Strait

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The United States Navy said its USS John Finn destroyer transited through a corridor in the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday that was “beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state,” according to a statement.

“John Finn’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to upholding freedom of navigation for all nations as a principle,” the US Navy said in its statement.

“No member of the international community should be intimidated or coerced into giving up their rights and freedoms.”

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The United States has routinely sent ships to sections of the South China Sea, angering China, which claims sovereignty over almost the entire area.

The transit - near Taiwan - comes as leaders of the US House of Representatives Taiwan Caucus, Republican Representative Mario Diaz Balart and Democratic Representative Ami Bera, visit Taipei, as a show of support after the island’s election.

China, which also views Taiwan as its own territory, has over the past four years regularly sent warplanes and warships into the skies and waters around the island as it seeks to assert sovereignty claims that the Taipei government rejects.

Last week, Taiwan’s defense ministry said it detected 18 Chinese air force planes operating around Taiwan and carrying out “joint combat readiness patrols” with Chinese warships, the first large-scale military activity after the Taiwanese election.

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