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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Possibility of Chinese Navy ships circling Taiwan not ruled out

ROC Central News Agency

2016/12/14 15:44:40

Taipei, Dec. 14 (CNA) Following reports of Chinese military aircraft flying close to Taiwan airspace, questions as to whether Chinese Navy ships could follow suit in Taiwan's maritime zones were answered by Taiwan's coast guard head on Wednesday as "possible."

"There is that possibility," said Coast Guard Administration (CGA) Minister Lee Chung-wei (李仲威) in answer to a question from Legislator Chen Yi-hsieh (陳怡潔) of the opposition People First Party about such speculation at a hearing of the legislature's Foreign and National Defense Committee.

Chen further asked what measures the CGA will take in response to a senario that Chinese naval vessels enter waters within 12 nautical miles of Taiwan's maritime territory, to which Lee replied that the CGA is in charge of public security in this area and if a hostile situation actually arises, relevant mission adjustments will be made.

In a wartime scenario, the CGA will be under the command of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and will undertake missions given by the MND, Lee said.

Some 10 military aircraft from the Eastern Theater Command -- one of five war zones designated by China's People's Liberation Army -- embarked Dec. 10 on a long-distance training mission, during which they flew over the Miyako Strait near Japan's Okinawa Prefecture, according to the MND.

Four of the aircraft then turned south toward the Bashi Channel, where they joined several fighter jets from the Southern Theater Command and circled outside Taiwan's air defense identification zone in the south before returning to their bases, the ministry said.

It was the second time since Nov. 25 that six Chinese military aircraft -- two H-6K bombers, one TU-154 surveillance aircraft, one Y-8 surveillance plane and two Su-30 fighters -- circled just outside Taiwan's air defense identification zone.

The so-called training missions by China drew concern from lawmakers in Taiwan over the response ability of the country's military ability in a scenario in which China takes military action against Taiwan.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has never declared that it will not take the island by force.

(By Chen Chun-hua and Elizabeth Hsu)

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