MND declines to comment on reported medical aid drill with U.S.

Taipei, The Ministry of National Defense on Sunday declined to comment on a news report that Taiwan's military will join the United States in an exercise that will focus on medical emergencies at sea.

According to the Liberty Times report, a team of Taiwan Navy and military medical personnel will be assigned to U.S. warships when the drill begins in the Solomon Islands in November.

The report said international medical and humanitarian assistance will become central to exchanges between Taiwan and the U.S., hence their plan to assemble an international team for the exercise.

Asked whether he could confirm the report, MND spokesman Chen Chung-chi (???) said "there is no comment or further explanation" on the subject.

Chieh Chung (??), a research fellow at the National Policy Foundation, said that in the face of China's suppression, Taiwan could increase its international and military presence by participating in international humanitarian aid drills and exchanges with other countries.

In fact, there is precedent for Taiwan's participation in international humanitarian relief efforts, he said, citing the Taiwan Navy's delivery of relief supplies to the Philippines, under the direction of the U.S. Pacific Command, when the neighboring country was hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and suffered the loss of 6,300 lives.

It will be a good strategy to boost Taiwan's international participation if its medical personnel are allowed onboard American Navy ships to join U.S.-led medical assistance efforts, Chieh said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel