Asia Minute: US Military Continues Regional Routines
A focus remains this week on the evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies from Kabul. And while U.S. military forces lead that operation, they also remain active in the Asia Pacific, with routine movements and exercises that generally don’t get as much attention.
A U.S. warship and Coast Guard cutter sailed through the Taiwan Strait Friday — just another routine trip that’s part of normal operations for the U.S. Navy.
This one took place shortly after the Chinese Navy finished a round of military exercises in the South China Sea.
The U.S. Navy noted in a familiar sounding statement that its “lawful transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. Commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.”
These days, that includes the Taiwan Strait about once a month — eight times so far this year, to be exact.
Responses from the Chinese government usually follow. In April, a spokesperson said the passage “disrupted the regional situation by endangering peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
In June, it said the transit showed “that the United States is the greatest creator of risks for regional security.”
Another military routine: exercises with allies.
Late last week, U.S. and South Korean forces wrapped up joint training with no immediate comment from North Korea.
The Pyongyang government had previously called the scaled-back drills a “provocation.”