Lawmakers to inspect Taiwan's new arms deployment in Spratlys
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Aug. 12 (CNA) A group of Taiwanese lawmakers is scheduled to visit Taiping Island by mid-September to inspect Taiwan's new military reinforcement in the disputed South China Sea area, Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang said Sunday.
Lin, convener of the Legislature's foreign affairs and national defense committee, said 120 mm mortars and 40 mm anti-aircraft guns were shipped to the island last week and installation has since begun.
He said the weapons will beef up Taiwan's defense capabilities on the island.
The weapons were handed over by the Ministry of National Defense to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA), which is responsible for defending the island.
With an area of some 0.49 square kilometers, Taiping is the largest of the Spratlys, which lie about 1,600 km southwest of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.
If the weather permits, a group of lawmakers will travel to the island to inspect the weapons deployment before the Legislature opens Sept. 18, Lin said.
The installation of the weapons is expected to be completed in September, according to the CGA.
The military reinforcement on Taiping was proposed by Lin, who paid an inspection visit to the island in April and reported that there were not enough defensive weapons there.
The increased weapons deployment on Taiping came amid disputes over territorial claims to the South China Sea region.
The area, thought to be rich in oil deposits and marine biodiversity, is claimed either entirely or in part by Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
(By Chen Shun-hsieh, Liu Chien-pang and Elaine Hou)
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