China sent a surveillance ship and spy aircraft to waters and airspace near Taiwan’s to gather intelligence last week during missile and air defense drills at a military base in Pingtung County, Ministry of National Defense (MND) officials confirmed yesterday.
The officials said the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) used electronic surveillance to track missile testing at the highly restricted Jioupeng Military Base (九鵬基地) in southern Taiwan.
It came in the wake of reports that Chinese visitors were spying and taking photographs near the nation’s military bases and other sensitive facilities, some of whom were known to be PLA officers and agents posing as tourists.
The ministry monitored the Chinese ship and aircraft as they approached the nation during the two-day missile tests, it said in a statement yesterday.
“Our armed forces were fully aware of their activity and implemented countersurveillance and security measures,” the statement said. “We have surveillance systems for effective monitoring of the nation’s surrounding airspace and waters, and have contingency plans for the protection and security of our nation.”
The ministry was responding to a report published yesterday by the Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) saying that the encroachment by Chinese spy vessels took place when Jioupeng Military Base was test-firing US-made MIM-104C (PAC-2) Patriot missiles on Wednesday and Thursday last week.
Photo: Tsai Tsung-hsien , Taipei Times
Quoting a source in the military, the report said a Chinese surveillance ship was picked up on radar on Wednesday morning about 60 nautical miles (111km) to the east of the base, which is in Pingtung’s mountainous region facing the Pacific Ocean.
On the next morning at the same time — when the Patriot missile system was scheduled for test firing — the radar station detected a Chinese spyplane approaching Taiwanese airspace.
After each detection, military officials immediately suspended the launch and shut down the system to prevent the Chinese vessels gathering intelligence, said the military source, who requested anonymity.
Photo: Hsu Shao-hsuan, Taipei Times
Ministry spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) confirmed the radar detections last week.
“Our armed forces reacted quickly with effective countermeasures and suspended the missile tests at those times, which prevented the Chinese PLA surveillance vessels from achieving their intelligence-gathering goals,” Lo said.
The military was holding live-fire and air defense exercises with its combined forces at the base in the final two weeks of last month, starting with tests of Taiwan’s domestic Tien Kung I (Sky Bow I, 天弓) and other short-range, surface-to-air missiles on May 21 and 22, officials said.
These drills were followed in the subsequent week by air defense drills and the test launches of Tien Chien II (天劍 Sky Sword II), Patriot PAC-2 and other guided surface-to-air missiles, they added.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly