The USS John S. McCain sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, its first such operation since Joe Biden took office.

The U.S. 7th fleet said in a statement that the “routine operation” by the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer was done “in accordance with international law.”

American Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John S. McCain DDG-56 and USS Curtis Wilbur DDG-54 of the United States Navy berthed in the Japanese Yokosuka naval base.
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“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the 7th fleet said. “The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere where international law allows.”

The USS John S. McCain’s last operation in the Taiwan Strait took place on New Year’s Eve.

The operation comes at a time of increased tension between the U.S. and China, which regards Taiwan as its own territory. Last a top official from China vowed that Taiwan’s independence would signal war with Taipei.

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Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Thursday said Beijing is closely watching the movements of the U.S. Navy amid the warship’s operation, according to a report from the South China Morning Post.

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“China will continue to maintain a high level of alert at all times, respond to all threats and provocations at all times, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Wenbin said. “It is hoped that the United States will play a constructive role in regional peace and stability, not the other way around.”