US-China tensions over Taiwan, the island territory which Beijing considers to be a renegade province of the People’s Republic, began escalating shortly after Joe Biden’s inauguration in January, with both countries deploying naval and air power to the area in shows of force.
The USS John Finn, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, the Navy’s 7th Fleet has reported.
The 7th Fleet also vowed that the US military would “continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows.”
In a related development, the Navy reported Thursday that the USS Curtis Wilbur, another Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, had crossed the East China Sea amid its forward deployment in the western Pacific.
Arleigh Burke-class warships are armed with an array of weapons, including Harpoon anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine warfare torpedoes and a 90-cell vertical launch system that can carry Tomahawk land attack missiles, RIM-66M surface-to-air missiles and anti-ballistic missiles.
Wednesday’s sail by the USS John Finn was the third deployment of its kind since Biden’s 20 January inauguration, and comes amid escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing over the island.
On Tuesday, US Indo-Pacific Command chief Adm. Philip Davidson told Washington lawmakers that China may be planning to swallow up Taiwan within “the next six years”, and warned that China’s alleged growing military assertiveness in Asia risks…