US warship sails through Taiwan Strait

The US Navy says one of its destroyers has conducted a "routine" transit of the Taiwan Strait.

The Seventh Fleet said in a statement that the USS John McCain's transit on Wednesday local time "demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific."

Earlier, the US Navy had announced that the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group entered the South China Sea on Sunday.

Regarding the exercises, US Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby said on Wednesday, "We don't conduct the freedom of navigation operations around the world to send, or to respond to a specific event or specific action of another country."

But he added, "Freedom of the sea doesn't just exist for fish and icebergs."

A spokesperson for the Chinese military's Eastern Theater Command issued a statement the same day, saying the country firmly opposes the US warship's transit through the Taiwan Strait.

He said it sent the "wrong signal" to forces in Taiwan seeking independence.

There has been increased Chinese military activity around Taiwan in recent days. Taiwan's Defense Ministry said that Chinese aircraft, including fighter jets and an anti-submarine aircraft, had entered its air defense identification zone on Wednesday.

On Monday, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy announced that the country's aircraft carrier group, led by the Liaoning, conducted a drill in waters near Taiwan.

The US military is stepping up vigilance against such activities. The commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral Philip Davidson, has suggested that China could try to take control of Taiwan in the next six years.