Marines conducted a military drill on Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) earlier this month, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said yesterday, adding it was a move to protect Taiwan’s sovereignty.
Lin told a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee that he was among the lawmakers invited to watch the drill at the navy headquarters.
He said the amphibious landing drill took place on April 10, in which an occupation by an enemy force was simulated on the island, which was then reclaimed through amphibious landing attacks.
The marines and their weapons were transported to Taiping by a fleet of navy vessels, including the Cheng Kung-class and Lafayette-class frigates and landing craft, the lawmaker said.
During the drill, marines in more than 20 assault vehicles launched an amphibious landing on the shores of Taiping, he added.
“The scene was pretty spectacular. The marines successfully landed on the beach and cleaned out the remainder of the enemy on the island. Coast Guard Administration officers also joined the exercise,” the lawmaker added.
As the US and China would have learned of the action, Lin said he wondered why the military had kept the drill confidential.
At the time, he had asked Deputy Minister of National Defense Andrew Hsia (夏立言) to publicize footage of the drill to show the military’s strength and its efforts to protect the nation’s territory.
The Coast Guard Administration has been assigned to protect the 0.49km2 island, which is 1,600km from Greater Kaohsiung.