For the crew of the USS Barry (DDG-52) the Taiwan Strait might begin to feel like a second home as the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer conducted its fourth routine transit and entered the South China Sea on Saturday. As with past missions, the U.S. Navy warship was once again conducting maritime security operations to promote peace and stability in the region.
“A continued presence in the South China Sea is vital in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Cmdr. Chris Gahl, Barry’s commanding officer. “The freedom of all nations to navigate in international waters is critically important. Barry’s transit of the Taiwan Strait yesterday ensured the right and instills the confidence of all nations to trade and communicate in the South China Sea.”
The question now is whether Beijing protests the return of the U.S. Navy vessel as it had done last month when USS Barry conducted a transit of the Taiwan Strait and operated within accordance with international law. While the U.S. Navy maintained that the ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait was to demonstrate Washington’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, the Chinese government suggested the ship’s very presence undermined peace and stability.
Beijing also said that Chinese troops would remain on high alert to resolutely safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.