Taipei, July 4 (CNA) Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Thursday that it monitors the country's surrounding waters and airspace closely at all times, after a Chinese submarine was allegedly spotted operating near one of Taiwan's offshore islands earlier in the day.
Without directly confirming or denying the submarine's alleged presence near Taiwan's outlying island, an MND statement said the military will continue to keep a close eye on Taiwan's sea and land to ensure its security and will take all necessary responsive measures accordingly, if needed.
The MND's statement came after local media reported that passengers of Taima Star ferry that operates between Keelung City and the offshore island of Matsu sighted what was believed to be a Chinese People's Liberation Army's 039A diesel-electric submarine in the waters near Matsu around 1 p.m. Thursday.
Passengers also took several photos of the alleged submarine when it surfaced, reports said.
The former frontline island of Matsu is situated less than 10 kilometers from China's Fujian Province.
Lu Li-shih (呂禮詩), a former captain of the ROC Navy corvette Xinjiang, meanwhile, said it was not a provocative act on the Chinese part even if it did operate a submarine near Matsu, as the area is claimed by Beijing as its territorial waters.
The submarine that allegedly surfaced near Matsu was also probably doing so for safety reasons as the water is quite shallow in the area, he said on his Facebook page.