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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Central News Agency

2005-06-15 19:55:19

    Taipei, June 15 (CNA) Ministry of National Defense (MND) officials said Wednesday the military will cooperate with the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) to protect Taiwanese fishermen based on what they called a "non-provocation principle."

    They pointed out that maintaining sea traffic order and protecting fishery activities are mainly the duties of the CGA and that the navy plays only a backup role in this regard.

    While the CGA dispatched six patrol boats to support Taiwanese fishermen during a conflict June 9 with Japanese authorities in a disputed part of the East China Sea following the latest expulsion of fishermen from the area, the navy did not step in because the CGA did not ask, they explained.

    According to navy official Lee Hao, two Knox-class frigates were on standby 25 nautical miles off the coast on that day and could have reached the scene in one hour if necessary.

    In addition, three Jin Chiang-class vessels were also available in Keelung and could have provided rapid backup, Lee said.

    Ministry officials said naval forces are responsible for assisting the CGA with the protection of Taiwanese fishermen and that the navy also assigns three battleships, six complementary frigates and two anti-submarine planes to patrol in specific areas on a daily basis to protect the security of the country's territorial waters.

    The patrol scope of the navy's battleships extends beyond 60 nautical miles from the coast, they said.

    However, they continued, it is not appropriate for the military to position itself on the frontline of international fishery disputes because this could easily lead to military conflict.

    Earlier in the day, opposition People First Party Legislator Lin Yu-fang requested that the military send a Knox-class frigate to accompany him on a fact-finding trip to an area near the disputed waters June 17 to flex Taiwan's muscle against Japan. The MND brushed aside his request.

(By Y.F. Low)


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