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.
CLEAR BEFORE LEAVING: Two baby boys and a woman in her 30s tested negative before departing for Japan, but tests taken after their arrival came back postive Three Taiwanese tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Japan earlier this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new imported case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that one of the three cases in Japan is a Taiwanese baby under the age of one, whose parents work in Japan. The infant came to Taiwan with his parents in January, and the parents paid for the family’s COVID-19 tests on Oct. 10 ahead of their planned return to Japan on Monday last week, he said. The boy and his
‘BACKED BY ENEMY’: CTi News is one of the few channels promoting unification, the New Party chairman said, while pro-Taiwan groups called it a propaganda outlet Pan-blue camp supporters yesterday lodged a protest at the National Communications Commission (NCC) against what they say is a possible move by the government to shut down CTi News, adding that politics should not interfere with freedom of the press. Protesters included representatives from the New Party, the Blue Sky Action Alliance, the 333 Political Party Alliance and other pan-blue groups. “We stand here today because CTi News is one of the few media outlets in Taiwan that is still willing to give groups supporting unification with China a voice. If the news channel is gone, there would only be
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Examples from South Korea and Japan show that 15 local COVID-19 infections could emerge in a short period if measures are not taken The Taipei City Government would cancel its New Year’s Eve Party and all large events if 15 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported in the city within a week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. Addressing the Taipei Cross Border E-Commerce Annual Convention, Ko said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to society, and that e-commerce is on a path of no return and would continue to grow. Many countries have not effectively controlled their COVID-19 outbreaks, and although Taiwan implements strict border controls and there have been few inbound passengers, the pandemic is unlikely to end soon,
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused CTi News of trying to mislead the public by publishing a half-page advert claiming that the party interfered in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) review of its application for a license renewal. CTi News is distorting the commission’s review process by painting it as a political conflict and turning it into a smear campaign against the DPP, party spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said. “The NCC is an independent body, which carries out reviews and makes decisions based on its members’ professional expertise, as well as regulations and legal requirements governing media operations,” Yen said. “We condemn