TAIPEI (CNA) – The military is closely monitoring any movements of Chinese military planes or navy vessels near Taiwan as part of their far-sea training activities and has response measures in place, Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesman Chen Chung-ji (陳中吉) said Monday.
China’s far-sea training activities are expected to become routine in the future and the military has a set of response options, according to Chen.
Chen made the remarks while answering media inquiries after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held a group interview in Beijing with the theme of “solid strides on the path of building a powerful military with Chinese characteristics” on Sunday.
Liu Rui (劉銳), a bomber pilot with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, said at the news conference that since the PLA expanded its far-sea training from the near coast to the deep seas several years ago, it has made long-distance deployments a routine part of its live-fire exercise cycle.
Liu also said the Chinese military will continue to expand its far-sea training, increase the frequency of its far-sea training activities and upscale its military exercises.
Also that day, Taiwanese media pundit and military expert Qi-yi (亓樂義) said in an exclusive interview with CNA that the has expanded its global footprint in recent years as evidenced by the multiple encroachments of Chinese military surveillance aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) earlier this year.
China’s act represents an attempt by China to show off its military might and test Taiwan’s political and military response capabilities, Qi said.
PLA aircraft and vessels have several times flown and sailed near southern Taiwan and into the Western Pacific via the Miyako Strait, which lies between the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa, and is part of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, but includes a narrow band of international waters and airspace.
Chinese fighter jets and ships have also regularly crossed the “first island chain,” which refers to the first major archipelagos off the East Asian continental mainland, including the Japanese archipelago, the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and the northern Philippines, he said.
In response, Chen said Monday that the military is closely monitoring the airspace and seas above and around Taiwan.
Chen also said the Defense Ministry has a range of response options available and called on the public to support the government’s efforts to develop a more independent defense sector or asymmetric warfare capabilities.
Meanwhile, in response to criticism of a waste of public resources over the Navy’s deployment of a Kidd-class guided-missile destroyer to rescue a Yilan-registered fishing boat which was trapped at sea due to engine failure Oct. 20, Chen said that protecting the people is the military’s duty and cannot be evaluated in terms of money. •
By Lu Hsin-hui and Evelyn Kao