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No PLA live-fire exercises detected in Taiwan Strait: Taiwan military

05/23/2024 08:35 PM
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A map that shows locations of Chinese military aircraft and vessels detected by the armed forces is displayed during the Ministry of National Defense's press briefing in Taipei Thursday. CNA photo May 23, 2024
A map that shows locations of Chinese military aircraft and vessels detected by the armed forces is displayed during the Ministry of National Defense's press briefing in Taipei Thursday. CNA photo May 23, 2024

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) Taiwan's military said Thursday evening that it has detected no signs of live-fire activities during the ongoing two-day exercises conducted by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) around Taiwan, which are being held three days after the inauguration of President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) on Monday.

Also, none of the PLA warplanes and warships detected during the ongoing drills have entered the nation's contiguous zone, an area that is adjacent to territorial sea and airspace and extends a maximum distance of 24 nautical miles from the coast, a senior military official said at an MND press event.

During the press briefing, Major General Huang Wen-chi (黃文啓), head of the MND's Office of Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Intelligence, said since the PLA announced the beginning of its two-day "Joint Sword-2024A" series of drills in areas around Taiwan from 7:45 a.m. Thursday, 15 PLA warships, 16 Chinese coast guard vessels, and 42 sorties by PLA warships, had been detected near Taiwan as of 2 p.m.

None of the warplanes or warships entered the 24 nautical mile zone from the coast, Huang said.

The Yilan (right), a vessel of Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration, is seen not far from Chinese frigate, the Yiyang, in the water near Pengjia Islet, which is located 33 nautical miles north-northeast of Keelung, on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Coast Guard Administration May 23, 2024
The Yilan (right), a vessel of Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration, is seen not far from Chinese frigate, the Yiyang, in the water near Pengjia Islet, which is located 33 nautical miles north-northeast of Keelung, on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Coast Guard Administration May 23, 2024

Huang also said that even though the PLA has declared it will hold drills at 9 different designated locations around Taiwan, Taiwan's armed forces have not yet detected live-fire drills at those locations.

The 9 locations listed by the PLA are in the Taiwan Strait, the north, south, southeast and east of Taiwan, as well as areas around the Taiwan-controlled islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin, close to China's southeast coast.

However, the PLA did not provide the exact coordinates for the designated locations, offering only a rough map showing the areas, according to Huang.

As for the PLA's planned drills around Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin, Huang said so far no PLA warships have been detected near these areas.

The Chinese side has continued to dispatch coast guard vessels to operate there, a practice that started before the Thursday drills were announced.

Photo courtesy of Coast Guard Administration May 23, 2024
Photo courtesy of Coast Guard Administration May 23, 2024

In response, Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration (CGA) also continued regular patrol in areas surrounding Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin, and has responded accordingly when encountering Chinese counterpart vessels, according to Huang.

Troops stationed on Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu and Dongyin did not raise the existing alert level due to the Chinese drills, he added.

The MND will make public more updated information when necessary, assuring the Taiwanese public that the armed forces' are ready and able to safeguard the nation and its people, the one-star general stressed.

The MND press event was held after the PLA's Eastern Theater Command, responsible for safeguarding eastern China, the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, announced a series of joint military drills in areas arround Taiwan starting Thursday morning.

The drills, which will last until Friday, focus on joint sea-air combat-readiness patrols, joint seizure of comprehensive battlefield control, and joint precision strikes on key targets, Li Xi (李熹), spokesperson for the theater command, was quoted as saying in an English language report by China's state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Li was also quoted as saying that the drills serve as a "strong punishment for the separatist acts of 'Taiwan independence' forces and a stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces," but he did not elaborate.

Following Lai's inaugural address on Monday, the People's Republic of China (PRC) said the speech was an attempt to promote Taiwan independence, in particular Lai's statement that the Republic of China (ROC) -- Taiwan's official name -- and the PRC are not subordinate to each other.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office criticized Lai's speech as containing "separatist fallacies" and as an attempt to "incite division" among the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

(By Joseph Yeh)

Enditem/AW

> Chinese Version

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