President Tsai Ing-wen is scheduled to oversee an exercise at the naval base in Suao on Taiwan’s northeast coast Friday. Reports have it that the exercise was in light of recent Chinese military drills near Taiwan. Defense ministry spokesperson Chen Chung-chi said Thursday that the purpose of the exercise is to upgrade Taiwan’s defense capability. He said it’s also for Taiwanese people to see the country’s military strength.
Meanwhile, legislators on Thursday questioned Taiwan’s military preparedness against the Chinese armed forces.
While the US Navy has been seen around the waters off the Philippines recently, the Chinese military has also been holding drills in the South China Sea. Citing those activities, legislators are concerned about whether Taiwan’s military is prepared for any move from China.
Legislator Lu Yu-ling asked if Taiwan should bolster its defenses on Taiping Island. Air Force Lieutenant General Liu Jen-yuan said that currently there are no plans but that the military is on a 24-hour alert. Taiping is the largest island of the Spratly chain. Six countries including Taiwan, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei lay claim to the islands in the South China Sea.
Lawmaker Tsai Shih-ying also had a concern. He asked if Taiwan’s air force has ever been forced out of the overlapping airspace in the East China Sea by Chinese military aircraft. Liu said there has never been a situation like that, but when necessary, Taiwan’s air force exercises its presence in the area.