Navy refutes report of a planned drill on Taiping
Taiwan’s Navy Command Headquarters refuted Sunday a media report that it had planned to hold a live fire war game on Taiping Island in South China Sea but eventually decided to drop it because of weather and other concerns.
In its statement released Sunday, the Navy said the report by a Taipei-based online news service is untrue, urging news media outlets to check the facts while making reports about military affairs, and refrain from citing groundless rumors or making speculations.
The Sunday report by Storm Media said the Navy planned in March to include the drill on the Taiwan-controlled Taiping in the disputed Spratly Islands in South China Sea in this year’s Han Kuang series of military exer- cises, slated for September.
The plan, however, was then rejected by military generals at the General Staff Headquarters, who believed the live ammunition drill of reclaiming the outlying island occupied by enemy forces will be difficult to carry out during the period when the region enters the typhoon season, the report said.
With an area of 0.49 square kilometers, Taiping is the largest natural land mass in the Spratlys, which lie about 1,600 kilometers southwest of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.
The South China Sea region, thought to be rich in oil deposits and marine biodiversity, is claimed either entirely or in part by Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.