Live-fire drill held on Itu Aba Island by coast guard

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 - Page 3

Coast Guard Administration personnel stationed on Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) in the South China Sea conducted a live-fire drill earlier this month as part of its mission to safeguarde the nation’s sovereignty over the area, a senior official said yesterday.

“The live ammunition drill was conducted in mid-April” and involved weapons deployed on Itu Aba, the largest island in the Spratly Islands, Coast Guard Administration Minister Wang Jinn-wang (王進旺) told a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee in response to questions from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方).

Wang said the drill was successfull and said that the personnel stationed on Itu Aba hold a live-fire drill every six months.

The drill incorporated 40mm anti-aircraft guns and 120mm mortars, which were being used on the island for the first time, Lin said.

The weapons were deployed by the Ministry of National Defense in August last year.

The coast guard’s last Itu Aba live-fire drill, conducted in September last year, included machine guns and 81mm mortars. At that time, they also practiced the emergency readying of 40mm anti-aircraft guns and 120mm mortars, but did not fire them.

In recent months, no Vietnamese government ships have been spotted in the waters within 6km of Itu Aba, Wang said.