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Taiwan has 'overall plan' to boost defense of Taiping Island

2017/04/17 20:34:59

CNA file photo

Taipei, April 17 (CNA) The government is formulating a comprehensive plan to boost the country's defensive ability on Taiping Island in the South China Sea, but will not disclose such details as manpower and weapons deployment, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Monday.

Ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) was responding to a media report that senior military officers have made a 17-point proposal to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA), which is in charge of the island's defense, as tension has been rising in the area.

The reported proposal includes the deployment of advanced high-tech weapons developed by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology such as the Coastal Defense Rocket System and small and medium unmanned aerial vehicles.

Also recommended for deployment on the island is the XTR-102 short-range automated defense system, armed with two T75 20 mm automatic guns and known for its precision, maneuverability and firepower.

Chen told reporters before attending a legislative national defense committee meeting that the MND has a "well-rounded and comprehensive plan" to defend Taiwan's territorial waters around the Dongsha and Nansha island groups, but he declined to divulge details regarding manpower and weapons deployment.

To the question of whether Taiwan's military deployment on Taiping Island has lagged behind those of neighboring countries surrounding the hotly contested South China Sea, Chen said that "all these factors are taken into account" when the MND makes its defense plans.

"Our goal is to ensure the government's South China Sea policy works out well, that is, all rival claimants will shelve their differences and jointly develop resources to maintain regional peace and security," he added.

The 0.51-square-kilometer Taiping Island, also known as Itu Aba, lies about 1,600 kilometers southwest of Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan. It has been under Republic of China jurisdiction since 1946.

Six countries -- Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei -- claim part or all of the islands in the resource-rich South China Sea and their surrounding waters.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen and S.C. Chang)