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Report of Taiwan helping in U.S.-North Korea war 'groundless': MND

ROC Central News Agency

2017/10/16 11:55:23

Taipei, Oct. 16 (CNA) A report claiming that Taiwan's Navy could offer humanitarian assistance if a war were to break out between the United States and the North Korea is "groundless" and "pure speculation," the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Monday.

A report in the Chinese-language Apple Daily on Monday cited an unidentified military official as saying that the U.S. military has recently dispatched a team to gauge Taiwan's ability to set up field hospitals during wartime.

The team also boarded the locally built Panshih (磐石), the only supply vessel in Taiwan's Navy with a small hospital, making it a possible field hospital in wartime, the report said.

The official told the paper that Taiwan's military could offer humanitarian assistance to its strongest ally if an all-out war between the U.S. and North Korea were to break out and result in heavy casualties.

In a statement Monday, the MND dismissed the report, calling it fictitious and far from the truth.

The MND called on media outlets to verify their information with related authorities before publishing such a groundless report that could mislead the public, the statement said.

Commissioned by the Navy, the Panshih was built by CSBC at a cost of NT$4.09 billion (US$130 million) and christened in November 2013, according to the Navy.

It was named after Panshih Mountain in Hualien County. The words suggest a sturdy and unwavering foundation.

The new vessel is used to transport fuel, ammunition and other supplies to support warships in wartime. In peacetime, it is used to carry supplies, conduct maritime rescue missions, and provide humanitarian assistance, the Navy said.

Measuring 196 meters in length and 25.2 meters in width, the Panshih can take a crew of up to 165 people and has a range of 8,000 nautical miles.

It can reach a maximum speed of 22 knots and has a load displacement of about 20,000 tons and a light displacement of about 10,000 tons.

The vessel's hospital has an operating room, a dental room, three regular wards and an isolation ward. It is stocked with advanced equipment, such as endoscopy devices and mobile X-ray machines.

The hospital provides medical services for Taiwan's military personnel and can also offer treatment to disaster victims when deployed on international humanitarian aid missions, the Navy said.

(By Joseph Yeh)
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