US sails guided-missile destroyer near Taiwan, a week before presidential inauguration
The US Navy said on Thursday it had sailed a guided-missile destroyer through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, a week before Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is inaugurated for a second term in office.
The US Pacific Fleet said in a statement on its Facebook page that the USS McCampbell had traversed the narrow strait that separates Taiwan from mainland China on Wednesday. Taiwan’s defense ministry said the ship had sailed south on what it termed an “ordinary mission,” Reuters reports.
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China “paid close attention” to the passage of the US ship. “We hope the US side can appropriately handle the relevant issue, and play a constructive role in regional peace and stability, not the opposite,” he said.
Tsai, who will be sworn in for her second and final term next Wednesday, won re-election by a landslide in January, vowing “to defend Taiwan’s democracy and stand up to China.”