Navy has no plans to stage drill near Taiping Island

Taipei, Nov. 25 (CNA) The Navy said Sunday that it has no plans to stage an exercise near a Taiwan-controlled island in the disputed South China Sea later this week, refuting a local media report earlier in the day.

In a press release, the Navy Command said the Chinese-language United Daily News report was nothing but speculation.

The report said that following a three-day live-fire exercise held in waters near the South China Sea by the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) last week, the Navy will soon stage a live-fire drill featuring ground weapon systems from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1.

In response, the Navy said it has no plans to stage another round of exercises.

According to the CGA, its Nov. 21-23 drill was part of live-fire exercises held annually in waters near Taiping in March, May, August and November.

The routine drill led to a protest from Vietnam, which, along with Taiwan, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei, claims sovereignty over all or some of the islands in the South China Sea and their surrounding waters.

Taiwan controls Taiping, the largest of the Spratly Islands, which is located some 1,600 kilometers from Kaohsiung. With an area of 0.51 square kilometers, it has 200 coastguard officers stationed there and a few civilian residents.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel