TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said Saturday evening that two U.S. Navy vessels had crossed into the Taiwan Straits from the south and were continuing on a northeasterly course.
The statement identified the two vessels as the DDG-89 and the DDG-65, the Central News Agency reported.
It was the first time since the George W. Bush Administration in 2007 that a U.S. government had sent a Navy ship through the Taiwan Strait, according to CNA. The possibility of such a move had been heralded in statements by U.S. officials made last June. Taiwan News Agency
USS Mustin (DDG 89)
“Always the Bold”
USS Mustin (DDG-89) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer in the United States Navy. She is named in honor of the Mustin family who has devoted nearly a century of U.S. Naval service. This ship is the 39th destroyer of its class.
USS BENFOLD (DDG 65)
“Onward with Valor”
USS Benfold is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. Benfold is a multi-mission platform capable of AAW with the powerful AEGIS combat systems suite and anti-aircraft missiles, ASW, with towed sonar array, anti-submarine rockets, ASUW with a Harpoon missile launcher, and strategic land strike using Tomahawk missiles. Benfold was one of the first ships fitted with the new AEGIS Ballistic Missile System
The Trump administration has been at odds with Beijing over its military build up of man-made islands in the South China Sea. Mattis accused the Chinese of breaking a promise by China’s president not to “militarize” the islands during a White House visit in 2015. The two nations have also been at odds for years over Taiwan.
The Navy move comes amid a growing trade war between the U.S. and China. The Trump administration has imposed 25 percent duties on $34 billion of Chinese imports, the first of a number of potential tariff increases. In response the Chinese Foreign Ministry said “retaliatory tariffs” also took effect, but did not provide further details.
The U.S. has also leaned heavily on China to help impose sanctions on North Korea in a bid to get the rogue communist regime to scrap its nuclear weapons program. The two warships sailed through the straight while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Pyongyang meeting senior North Korean leaders, Fox News reports.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.