Mil­i­tary ready to fly out re­lief to Nepal on C-130

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

Tai­wan’s mil­i­tary is on standby and will be ready to dis­patch its C-130 trans­port air­craft to air­lift sup­plies to Nepal in ar­eas dev­as­tated by earth­quake, the Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense (MND) said yes­ter­day.

Speak­ing at a news brief­ing, mil­i­tary spokesman Luo Shou-he (

) said the min­istry had in­structed Air Force Head­quar­ters to as­sess and plan the post-dis­as­ter re­lief mission over the past few days fol- low­ing the dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake that hit Nepal on Satur­day, killing thou­sands.

Now the plan has been com­pleted and the mil­i­tary is on standby pending a gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion on whether to send mil­i­tary trans­port air­craft to Nepal, he noted.

The Air Force is ready to con­duct the dis­as­ter re­lief mission once other coun­tries have agreed to al­low Tai­wanese mil­i­tary air­craft to fly through their airspace, Luo noted.

A mil­i­tary of­fi­cial who prefers to stay anony­mous yes­ter­day told lo­cal me­dia that mil­i­tary per­son­nel have com­pleted flight sim­u­la­tions for fly­ing the C-130 air­craft to Kathmandu.

A to­tal of 11 mil­i­tary med­i­cal team mem­bers are on standby to carry out the mission, the of­fi­cial noted.

It could take 11 to 14 hours to fly the C-130 craft to Kathmandu with med­i­cal teams and sup­plies, the of­fi­cial said.

The For­eign Min­istry

is

still in talks with re­lated coun­tries to see if it is pos­si­ble to carry out the mission, the of­fi­cial noted.

He said, how­ever, that it will be more cost ef­fec­tive and eco­nom­i­cal to send civil­ian air­craft for the mission in­stead of mil­i­tary ones be­cause the flight routes in­volve trav­el­ing through the airspace of many coun­tries.

The mil­i­tary air­craft also need to stop for re­fu­el­ing dur­ing the long flight, the of­fi­cial noted.

Mean­while, asked to com­ment, For­eign Min­is­ter David Lin (

) yes­ter­day told the Chi­ne­se­lan­guage Ap­ple Daily that the R.O.C. gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have ex­pressed their in­ten­tion to their Nepalese coun­ter­parts to send res­cue teams and sup­plies to as­sist post-dis­as­ter re­lief work.

Nepal’s gov­ern­ment has ex­pressed grat­i­tude for the of­fer and said it will let Tai­wan know if it needs as­sis­tance, Lin noted.

Dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Mon­day, Lin ex­plained that Kath- mandu has so far only asked for as­sis­tance for search and res­cue ef­forts from neigh­bor­ing coun­tries.

He noted that the de­ci­sion has noth­ing to do with main­land Chi­nese pres­sure or the coun­tries’ lack of of­fi­cial diplo­matic ties.

Pre­vi­ous C-130 Mis­sions

The R.O.C. gov­ern­ment pre­vi­ously sent C-130 mil­i­tary trans­port air­craft car­ry­ing sup­plies to the Philip­pines as part of Tai­wan’s hu­man­i­tar­ian aid mission in the South- east Asian coun­try in the af­ter­math of Ty­phoon Haiyan on Novem­ber 2013, de­spite the lack of of­fi­cial ties.

R.O.C. Air Force C-130 Her­cules trans­port air­craft car­ried out sim­i­lar mis­sions in 2004 and 2010.

In 2004, sim­i­lar air­craft were used to per­form a re­lief mission for vic­tims of a tsunami in Southeast Asia, while in 2010, the trans­port plane de­liv­ered med­i­cal sup­plies and re­lief goods to earth­quake- rav­aged Haiti, one of Tai­wan’s 22 diplo­matic al­lies.

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