Even as the U.S. military is committed to a successful withdrawal of Americans from Afghanistan, it continues to maintain a presence around the world. If Beijing thought that perhaps the U.S. would be distracted by events in Kabul this week, it likely was caught off guard by the transiting of the Taiwan Strait by a U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and a U.S. Coast Guard Legend-class national security cutter on Friday.
The USS Kidd (DDG-100) and USCGC Munro (WMSL-755) conducted routine Taiwan Strait transits Aug. 27 (local time) through international waters in accordance with international law, the Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs office announced.
“The ships’ lawful transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows,” the public affairs office added.
The passage of the Taiwan Strait comes as there has been a spike in military tensions between China and Taiwan – with the former seeing the latter as a breakaway province that will be brought back under its control, by force if necessary. It was just last week that the Chinese military conducted assault drills with warships and fighter jets taking part in exercises off the island nation’s southern coasts.
The U.S. has responded to the increased Chinese aggression by conducting regular deployments to the waters near Taiwan, including transits of the straits, with increasing regularity. However, the United States, as with many countries, maintains no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan – yet still remains the autonomous island’s most important backer as well as a major seller of arms.
The U.S. Isn’t Distracted
Chinese media attempted to paint the situation in Afghanistan as more dire than it likely is, and has attempted to portray the United States as not being committed to the support of Taiwan. However, Friday’s deployment of the U.S. Navy warship and United States Coast Guard cutter should remind China that the U.S. isn’t going away, and won’t be driven out of the region.
This week, Vice President Kamala Harris had accused China of “bullying and excessive maritime claims” during her trip to Vietnam and Singapore. She is just the latest in a string of top U.S. officials to visit the Indo-Pacific region in an effort to further cement the U.S. commitment to the region.
Seeing the World
The crew of the Kidd has certainly covered a lot of miles in the past year. The ship had completed a deployment to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations last September during which she took part in U.S. Southern Command and Joint Interagency Task Force South’s enhanced counternarcotics operations missions in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer then returned to her homeport of Naval Station Everett, Washington. In June, Kidd departed San Diego to continue her scheduled deployment. She is the third U.S. Navy ship to be named for Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, who was on board the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor and was the first American flag officer to be killed during the Second World War II.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.