A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer passed through the Taiwan Strait to demonstrate the country's "commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific," the navy said Thursday, amid China's growing aggressiveness against self-ruled Taiwan.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet said that the Chung-Hoon had conducted a routine transit through the waterway the same day, triggering a backlash from the Chinese military on Friday.

"The ship transited through a corridor in the Strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State," the U.S. 7th Fleet said ahead of China's anticipated response that the passage was not in international waters.

Photo from the U.S. Navy's website shows the Aegis destroyer Chung-Hoon at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in January 2009. (Kyodo)

"The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows," it added.

A spokesperson for the Chinese military's Eastern Theater Command registered the move as provocative and stated that it was monitoring every move by the U.S. military.

China and Taiwan have been governed separately since they split following a civil war in 1949. Beijing regards the self-governed, democratic island as a renegade province awaiting unification with the mainland, by force if necessary.

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