Chinese military craft were yesterday spotted in waters off Taiwan’s east coast for the second day in a row as President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) observed a joint naval combat readiness drill on the second day of the Han Kuang military exercises.
Tsai in the morning sailed from Suao Naval Base in Yilan County on board the Kidd-class destroyer Keelung.
The drill featured 20 naval and coast guard vessels, including the guided-missile destroyers Zuoying and Keelung, Kang Ding-class and Cheng Kung-class frigates, and Tuo Chiang-class corvettes, as well as the navy’s Hai Lung-class submarine.
Photo: Lam Yik Fei, Bloomberg
The air force’s F-16V, Mirage 2000 and Indigenous Defense Fighter jets, as well as maritime surveillance P-3 Orion aircraft, took part in the joint drill.
The exercise tested the military’s joint defense capabilities against a Chinese naval invasion, and included port air defenses, anti-mining exercises and joint anti-submarine operations.
The Coast Guard Administration also deployed its 600-tonne Chengkung patrol vessel to carry out anti-surface warfare operations with the navy.
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
Meanwhile, two Chinese military vessels were spotted in international waters off Taitung County’s Green Island (綠島), a military source said.
The first, a missile frigate, was spotted at about 7am sailing 41 nautical miles (76km) southeast of the island, while the other, a surveillance ship, was detected at about 8am about 45 nautical miles northeast of the island, the official said.
Both vessels were sailing south at the time, they added.
The sightings came a day after the Japanese military reported a Chinese reconnaissance drone flying in international waters off the coast of Hualien County.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense said the TB-001 drone flew from the East China Sea through the Miyako Strait between the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Miyakojima toward the Pacific Ocean.
Nicknamed the “Twin-Tailed Scorpion,” the TB-001 is a medium-altitude, long-range combat uncrewed aerial vehicle manufactured by Sichuan Tengden Technology Co (四川騰盾科技有限公司).
Although Taiwan was not directly mentioned in the report, a map showed that the drone turned southwest over the Pacific Ocean and flew in circles above the waters off Taiwan’s east coast.
Ministry of National Defense spokesman Sun Li-fang (孫立方) yesterday did not comment on the Japanese report, saying only that the military closely monitors Chinese military maneuvers in waters and airspace around Taiwan, and has the ability to ensure the nation’s security.
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