French Navy Traverses Taiwan Straits


“China’s defence ministry said on Thursday that France ‘illegally enter[ed] Chinese waters’ after the Chinese navy warned a French warship to leave the Taiwan Strait earlier this month.

“China has lodged an official protest at the ‘rare move’ by the French Navy, which has reaffirmed its commitment to ‘freedom of navigation under maritime law’.

“Following the Chinese statement, two US Navy destroyers passed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday”

The above note was published by ASPI on April 30, 2019.

Editor’s Note: We have long advocated for a major build up of USCG National Security Cutters, a program which languished under the Obama Administration.

One might note that the US Navy has discovered the importance of these cutters in dealing with the Chinese gray zone conflicts for sure, but one could only wish that their had been a build of NSC hulls rather than the much more limited littoral combat system.

A U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer and a Coast Guard National Security Cutter completed a transit of the Taiwan strait early Monday (March 25, 2019), the fifth such transit in six months. The move was immediately decried by Chinese officials.

USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54) and U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Bertholf (WSML-750)
completed transiting the roughly 110-mile wide body of water separating mainland China from Taiwan early Monday, according to media accounts and first reported by The Japan Times.

 “[The ships] conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit March 24-25 (local time) in accordance with international law,” Cmdr. Clay Doss, a U.S. 7th Fleet spokesman, said in an email to USNI News. “The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

There are only eight of these ships constructed to date which makes very little sense when one could build ice-hardened variants as well for a more global reach set of missions.