CORONAVIRUS/Navy cancels port visits to allies over COVID-19 concerns

01/12/2021 11:15 PM
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Taipei, Jan. 12 (CNA) Taiwan Navy's midshipmen crusing training mission will not include port calls in the country's diplomatic allies this year as the COVID-19 pandemic shows no sign of easing, a military source said Tuesday.

This year's mission will also be shorter than normal, the source said, adding that the exact timeline and route have not yet been finalized.

In addition to providing training, the annual mission of the Navy Midshipmen Cruising Training Squadron is also used to conduct military diplomacy to enhance partnerships with the country's allies.

The mission usually includes visits to the heads and deputy heads of state of Taiwan's diplomatic allies.

Another purpose, meanwhile, is to conduct drills to evacuate Taiwanese living overseas.

The squadron usually conducts a "minor" goodwill mission every two years, which involves visiting nearby allies, and a "major" goodwill mission every four years, which involves visiting countries located as far away as South and Central America.

In April 2020, a COVID-19 outbreak occurred aboard a ship in the Goodwill Fleet and a total of 36 sailors tested positive for the virus.

(By Matt Yu and Chung Yu-chen)

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