- The Washington Times - Friday, August 27, 2021

A U.S. Navy destroyer steamed through the Taiwan Strait on Friday, the eighth time this year that an American warship challenged Beijing‘s claim of dominance over the 110-mile wide body of water between Taiwan and mainland China. 

The USS Kidd, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, was accompanied by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Munro when it conducted what Navy officials called a “routine Taiwan Strait transit”  through international waters. The operation was intended to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” Defense Department officials said.

“The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows,” officials with the 7th Fleet said in a statement.

The USS Benefold, another guided-missile destroyer, passed through the same strait in late July. About a month prior, the destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur also cruised through the strait. 

“Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose a serious threat to the freedom of the seas,” 7th Fleet officials said.

In May 2021, the USS Curtis Wilbur also passed through an area near the Paracel Islands, a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea claimed by Taiwan, Vietnam and China, which has set up outpost bases there.

Vice President Kamala Harris said this week as she visited Singapore and Vietnam that the U.S. will resist Chinese “bullying” in the South China Sea.

“Let me affirm that the United States Navy will maintain a strong presence in the South China Sea and will continue to challenge Beijing‘s bullying and excessive maritime claims,” she said during a meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Said 7th Fleet officials on Friday: “No member of the international community should be intimidated or coerced into giving up their rights and freedoms.”

• Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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