USS John C. Stennis transits Taiwan Strait

Written by Staff Writer

The USS John C. Stennis on Monday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, the U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement . The 14,000-ton aircraft carrier was sailing in its traditional four-leg configuration of aircraft and support ship, accompanied by four guided-missile destroyers and four guided-missile cruisers, according to the statement.

The Stennis transited through the Taiwan Strait after its last mission in December 2018. Two weeks after that mission, a Chinese coast guard ship rammed a US patrol ship as it crossed in the Straits, where China claims sovereignty.

CNN’s Jonathan Miller reports.

The United States regularly sends warships through the Straits, which straddle Taiwan and China. In December 2017, a US aircraft carrier traversed the Straits in its main configuration with only two of its warplanes.

The Stennis is one of two aircraft carriers now stationed in the Pacific and participated in the USS Carl Vinson’s 2017 freedom of navigation operation.

In 2017, the former First Fleet commander in Hawaii criticized the U.S. Navy’s perception of a “legitimate interest” for freedom of navigation operations in the Straits.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the patrols were unnecessary and dangerous.

“It’s not a legitimate area for them to operate [in], and it’s an easy way to get challenged and show they’re powerful,” he said.

The Stennis was dispatched last week to participate in Exercise Talisman Saber, which is a U.S.-South Korea military exercise on the Korean Peninsula.

Following the US release of the video Monday, China has been ordered to respond to the Stennis’ transgression.

The Foreign Ministry said Beijing was strongly dissatisfied with the US interference.

“We hope that the relevant party stops doing whatever it wants and does everything to properly manage and properly handle this relevant issue to create the most stable environment for the China-US ties,” a ministry spokesman said in a statement.

“We urge the relevant side to show responsibility and stop it, take the road of peace and normalization, and work with China to promote the greater development of the China-US ties.”

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