Taiwan has not reinforced its deployment on Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) in the South China Sea, the Coast Guard Administration said yesterday in response to a report that the government recently sent a platoon to Itu.
The Taipei Times on Sunday reported that the coast guard sent 30 weapons-trained personnel to the island to help cushion the impact of the stepped-up military deployments of other countries in the disputed waters.
The agency said in a statement that it transferred some personnel stationed on the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島) to Itu, the largest of the disputed Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), on Oct. 16 last year to support the opening of a new wharf there on Dec. 12.
It also sent two patrol boats with 20 crew members to be stationed on Itu on Nov. 26 last year, the statement said.
Those boats are the backbone of the agency’s ocean rescue mission, and “there has not been any such thing as a reinforced deployment,” the agency said.
The wharf is part of Taiwan’s effort to upgrade Taiping’s infrastructure in recent years, it said.
The improved infrastructure will strengthen the island’s security and the transport of materials as well as support ocean research and humanitarian rescue efforts, the coast guard said.
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