As Beijing locks horns with a number of countries over the islands and waters of the East and South China Sea, China has launched a program to greatly increase its remote-sensing capabilities through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), reports said yesterday.
The State Council last year approved a 10-year “national marine zoning” program to establish integrated, three dimensional, high-precision monitoring of China’s maritime areas. As part of China’s 12th five-year plan, which runs through to 2015, the State Oceanic Administration has been ordered to increase its remote-sensing capabilities through the acquisition and deployment of UAVs, pilot training and the construction of support infrastructure, Xinhua news agency reported.
In addition to increased surveillance of coastal waters, the UAVs are to also monitor waters under Chinese jurisdiction — including the Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island, 黃岩島), the Paracel Islannds (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) and the Spratly (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) archipelago in the South China Sea — over which China has engaged in territorial disputes with a number of neighboring states including Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
According to the report, the UAVs are also to be used to conduct surveillance near the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) in the East China Sea — the object of an escalating dispute since Sept. 11 after the Japanese government announced the purchase of three of the islets comprising the potentially resource-rich archipelago. Taiwan, Japan and China all claim sovereignty over the islets.
Although China already uses space-based sensors to monitor its waters, UAVs provide much greater mobility and precision (down to 0.1m), and can loiter over a targeted area providing constant and real-time imaging. This is a major advantage over space orbiters, which, because of their altitude can only scan the same location every two or three days, thus minimizing the effective monitoring of fixed and moving targets.
At present, China relies mostly on satellites and manned aircraft to conduct maritime surveillance.
Japanese media reported last month that the US had agreed to use some of its Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk drones — deployed at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam since September 2010 — to conduct surveillance over parts of Japanese territory and near the Diaoyutais, known as the Senkakus in Japan.
In recent years the Chinese military as well as law enforcement agencies have acquired and developed a number of unmanned vehicles, including fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. The People’s Liberation Army Navy, and civilian maritime safety agencies, have also worked to actively integrate ship-based UAVs to their operations.
In related news, images released by Xinhua on Saturday indicated that J-10B and Sukhoi Su-30 all-weather combat aircraft had been dispatched to augment forces operating in the East China Sea Fleet.
This development occurs as the East China Sea Fleet held a tri-service landing drill which involved land, navy and air forces that simulated a landing attack. Dozens of landing ships took part in the exercise, with forces breaking rival army blockades and transporting troops to a landing area.
‧ Planned increases to China’s remote-sensing capabilities are part of China’s 12th five-year plan.
‧ In addition to increased surveillance of coastal waters, unmanned drones are to monitor waters under Chinese jurisdiction — including the Scarborough Shoal, the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Archipelago in the South China Sea.
‧ Drones are superior to space orbiters because the latter can only scan the same location every two or three days given their orbit.
A survey of young Taiwanese showed that only 36.5 percent of men and 19.6 percent of women believe marriage is important, a trend that academics say is key to the nation’s low birthrate. Yang Wen-shan (楊文山), an adjunct research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology, yesterday announced the 12th round of results from a longitudinal survey of attitudes among young Taiwanese toward markers of adulthood. While few of the respondents, who were aged 28 to 32 when surveyed in 2017, found marriage to be important, 95.8 percent believed that being responsible for oneself should take precedence, data showed. Economic independence came in
SHRINKING FEMALE POPULATION: Last year, 107.74 boys were born for every 100 girls in Taiwan, which is a greater gender imbalance than in Japan and South Korea The Ministry of the Interior recorded 9,601 births in January, the first time the nation has produced fewer than 10,000 newborns in a single month, while different indicators showed that Taiwan might also be facing a population with increasingly fewer births, women and marriages. It comes after the ministry reported a record low 165,249 births last year, which was lower than the 173,156 deaths recorded last year. The nation experienced negative population growth for the first time last year, ministry data found. The number of births in January also dropped from a year earlier, when there were 12,510 births. In February, there were
The Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office has listed six people as suspects in a judicial investigation into a fatal train crash on Friday last week. Fifty people were killed and more than 200 were injured when the Taroko Express No. 408 train slammed into a crane truck that had slid onto the tracks near the entrance of Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The office also summoned six officials at the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) Hualien Engineering Section for questioning about alleged illegal business operations and unsafe work conditions by Yi Hsiang Industry Co and Tung Hsin Construction Co, the two
SUPPORTING DEMOCRACY IN ASIA: Twitter aims to ‘play a unique role in enabling the public conversation around important social movements,’ the US company said Twitter has thrown its support behind the “Milk Tea Alliance” of democracy movements in Taiwan, Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia, defying China at a time when Beijing is punishing Western companies for commenting on what it considers internal matters. The social media company yesterday prominently displayed flags of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar and Thailand while unveiling an emoji to support democracy advocates in places that have in the past few years seen historic protests and share a love for the beverage. The emoji will automatically show up when users post the #MilkTeaAlliance hashtag, which was posted been 11 million times