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No signs of a possible U.S. drill in South China Sea: MND

2018/11/14 14:25:13

Defense Minister Yen De-fa (嚴德發, front)

Taipei, Nov. 14 (CNA) Taiwan's defense chief on Wednesday said the military has not seen any signs that the United States will stage a drill in the South China Sea in the near future, as has been previously suggested by CNN.

Fielding questions from legislators during a hearing, Defense Minister Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said Taiwan's Armed Forces have closely monitored the regional situation but have not seen anything to suggest the U.S. could soon hold an exercise in the disputed waters.

CNN reported on Oct. 4 that the U.S. was planning to conduct freedom of navigation operations in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea later this month, with the proposal being circulated calling for several missions to take place in just a few days in November.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) wondered if the movement of an American aircraft carrier is related to that.

He said the USS John C. Stennis is now sailing toward the Seventh Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan, and asked Yen if it will be joining another aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, for a drill in the South China Sea.

Yen said the U.S side does not inform Taiwan of its upcoming military deployments beforehand, but Taiwan's military has not seen anything suggesting a military exercise will take place.

He did say, however, that Taiwan's military fully respects the freedom of navigation principles being defended by the United States.

(By Joseph Yeh)