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DEFENSE/Taiwan, U.S. Pacific drills held based on international code: MND

05/14/2024 05:09 PM
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Naval vessels take part in the 2022 Han Kuang military exercises. CNa file photo
Naval vessels take part in the 2022 Han Kuang military exercises. CNa file photo

Taipei, May 14 (CNA) An unpublicized joint military exercise between Taiwan and the United States in the Pacific last month was carried out in accordance with an international code, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Tuesday.

According to a Reuters report citing unnamed sources, the American and Taiwanese navies conducted joint drills in the Western Pacific in April.

The drills were not made public at the time, but the sources said about six navy ships from both sides, including frigates and supply and support vessels, participated in the days-long exercises, according to Reuters.

Responding to the report, MND spokesman Major General Sun Li-fang (孫立方) said the drills were based on the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), a series of non-binding rules-of-the-road to prevent an escalation of tensions between different militaries at sea.

Sun said routine drills were carried out in accordance with CUES to avoid mutual interference during encounters at sea because there are many uncertain factors during any such encounter.

An agreement reached at the 2014 Western Pacific Naval Symposium, CUES offers safety measures and a means to limit mutual interference, to limit uncertainty, and to facilitate communication when naval ships or naval aircraft encounter each other in an unplanned manner.

The drills, which focused on communications and other operations and did not involve live fire maritime exercises, were not the first held to simulate encounters between Taiwanese and American naval ships, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile, in response to questions about Chinese military activity ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Lai Ching-te (賴清德) on May 20, Sun said peace in the Taiwan Strait and regional stability depend on the joint efforts of all parties.

Any provocative actions will not help regional peace and stability, and Taiwan's military is not a troublemaker and will not take provocative actions, Sun said.

One of the moves made by the People's Liberation Army of China recently seen as being provocative was deploying the Type 052D destroyer Lishui in waters around Taiwan's outlying Penghu islands on May 11, according to media reports.

Major General Tung Chi-Hsing (董冀星), who is in charge of combat and planning affairs at the MND, said China has also been stepping up gray-zone warfare against Taiwan.

The MND will continue its joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations to stay on top of developments in the Taiwan Strait and respond to any emergencies based on related combat readiness guidelines and regulations, Tung said.

(By Matt Yu, Wu Shu-wei and Evelyn Kao)

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