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US warships passed through the Taiwan Strait, officials say

Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Benfold. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Burke)

A pair of U.S. warships passed through the Taiwan Strait this weekend, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense.

The ministry, in a statement Saturday, identified the ships entering the 110-mile strait between mainland China and Taiwan as the Yokosuka, Japan-based destroyers USS Mustin and USS Benfold.

“Two U.S. Navy ships conducted a routine transit through the international waters of the Taiwan Strait on July 7-8,” U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Charlie Brown told USNI News Saturday. “U.S. Navy ships transit between the South China Sea and East China Sea via the Taiwan Strait and have done so for many years.”

The transit, which comes as the U.S. and China spar over trade and access to international waters, is the first since another American destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, entered the strait last July.

The last time a US. aircraft carrier passed through the Taiwan Strait was when the USS Kitty Hawk transited it in 2007.

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