Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Legislator: Taiwan Stages Largest Drill Since 2000 in Spratlys

Apr. 28, 2014 - 02:58PM   |  
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE   |   Comments
Taiwan Coast Guard servicemen and women practice combat skills on Sept. 18 at Taipeing, the biggest of the Spratly Islands. Taiwan this month mobilized hundreds of marines for its largest military exercise since 2000 near disputed islands in the South China Sea, a legislator said Monday.
Taiwan Coast Guard servicemen and women practice combat skills on Sept. 18 at Taipeing, the biggest of the Spratly Islands. Taiwan this month mobilized hundreds of marines for its largest military exercise since 2000 near disputed islands in the South China Sea, a legislator said Monday. (Taiwan Coast Guard / AFP)
  • Filed Under

TAIPEI — Taiwan this month mobilized hundreds of marines for its largest military exercise since 2000 near disputed islands in the South China Sea, a legislator said Monday.

Lin Yu-fang said the landing drill was held on the Taiwan-administered island of Taiping, part of the Spratlys — a chain which is also claimed in whole or in part by China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei.

Lin, a member of parliament’s defense and diplomacy committee, said the task force from two marine companies, armed with mortars and anti-tank rockets, boarded some 20 amphibious assault vehicles for the landing on Taiping on April 10.

A naval fleet of seven Lafayette-class and Perry-class frigates as well as tank landing ships were mobilized for the drill which practiced retaking the islet after it was seized by invading troops, he said in a statement.

“This was the biggest naval gathering near the islet since 2000 when the marines were replaced by coastguards,” Lin said after a closed-door committee meeting.

“This was also the first time since then that regular troops stepped on the islet,” he said, describing the drill as “of special significance.”

Defense ministry spokesman David Lo confirmed the exercise but gave no details.

Taiping Island is currently guarded by a 130-strong coast guard.

All claimants to the Spratlys, apart from Brunei and Taiwan, have troops based on the archipelago of more than 100 islets, reefs and atolls, which cover a vast area but have a total land mass of less than five square kilometers (two square miles).

The potentially resource-rich sea, home to important trade routes, is a potential military flashpoint. There have been a series of diplomatic rows between countries with overlapping territorial claims in recent years.

The Philippines and Vietnam have complained that China is becoming increasingly aggressive in its actions in the area — such as harassing fishermen — and also through bullying diplomatic tactics.

Taiwan has strengthened its defense capabilities in the disputed area, including expanding a pier and deploying long-range artillery and mortars.

More In World News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

Subscribe!

Subscribe!

Login to This Week's Digital Edition

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Exclusive Events Coverage

In-depth news and multimedia coverage of industry trade shows and conferences.

TRADE SHOWS:

CONFERENCES:

Defensenews TV

  • Sign-up to receive weekly email updates about Vago's guests and the topics they will discuss.