US Warship Transits Taiwan Strait 對印太安全承諾 美艦班福特號昨通過台海

The USS Benfold transited the Taiwan Strait on July 19 to show the U.S.' commitment to Indo-Pacific security. The Ministry of National Defense said it was fully aware of all nearby movements during the transit, while China criticized the U.S. for provocations that create risks across the Taiwan Strait. Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen received European Parliament Vice President Nicola Beer.

According to a press release issued by the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Benfold transited the Taiwan Strait on July 19. The statement said the Benfold carried out a freedom of navigation operation that demonstrated the U.S.' commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The Benfold was sailing near Nansha on July 16, so it's believed it transited the strait heading north from south.  

Sun Li-fang, Spokesperson, Ministry of National Defense: “The ship sailed northward through the strait. The military was fully aware of all related movements in our surrounding sea and air spaces during the entire journey, and the situation was normal.”

In response to the transit, a People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theater Command spokesperson said on July 19 that the PLA had followed the ship throughout and warned it, and the frequent provocations and showing off by the U.S. fully demonstrate that the U.S. is a maker of security risks in the Taiwan Strait. Meanwhile, the media reported that the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong was spotted west of the Taiwan Strait's median line on July 19. It was heading south and passed through the open sea off of Kinmen. It's believed it was targeted by a U.S. Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft circling in the southwest airspace. There's a chance that the two naval vessels may have a close encounter.

Nicola Beer, Vice President, European Parliament: “We admonish China not to destroy Taiwan's blossoming, but to take an active and constructive part in maintaining and executing the current status quo based on mutual and respectful dialogue.”

On July 20, European Parliament Vice President Nicola Beer called on President Tsai Ing-wen. Beer said Europe is deeply concerned by China's gradual moves towards unilaterally changing the status quo, and added that only the Taiwan people can decide Taiwan's future.