US Navy ship sails through Taiwan Strait

Taipei, March 26 (IANS) Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, a US Navy ship sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the third such passage this year, a media report said on Thursday.

The USS McCampbell (DDG 85), a guided-missile destroyer, passed through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, the Taiwan News report quoted the US Pacific Fleet as saying in a tweet.

“Sailors stand watch aboard USS McCampbell (DDG 85) as the forward-deployed US 7th Fleet guided-missile destroyer transits the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday,” the post said.

The US Navy has carried out freedom of navigation operations across the region over the years, and this is the third such trip this year.

In response to the incident, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence said on Thursday that the military had closely monitored the situation and did not detect any anomaly.

The US ship sailed northward from waters in the southwest of Taiwan, it added.

Military activities in the region have not slowed down even as countries across the world have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic for the last two months, said the Taiwan News report.

A USS Barry destroyer (DDG-52) launched a missile during a live-fire exercise in the Philippine Sea on March 19.

This came three days after several Chinese aircraft conducted an exercise off the southwest coast of Taiwan, according to the report.

On Wednesday, a US Navy EP-3E signals intelligence aircraft reportedly carried out an operation off the southwest coast of Taiwan.

Taiwan has also carried out a number of military exercises across the island in the past week.

Speaking at an army base in Tainan on Tuesday, President Tsai Ing-wen called on the military to maintain its state of combat readiness while carrying out coronavirus prevention tasks.

There are currently 235 confirmed coronavirus cases in tAIWAN WITH TWO FATALITIES.



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