TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan Coast Guard Administration (CGA) announced on Monday (March 1) that it would hold a live-fire artillery drill that day and again on March 9, simulating various defensive scenarios.
In order to strengthen combat readiness, the Coast Guard carried out artillery exercises on the Dongsha Islands Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and the next round of exercises is scheduled during the same period on March 9. The maximum ballistic height will be 12,000 feet, CNA cited the CGA as saying.
In the past six months, China has frequently dispatched military aircraft, including fighter jets, to intrude into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), often times near Dongsha Island (東沙群島, Pratas Island), which is administered by the Kaohsiung City Government. Last year alone, Chinese planes crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait 49 times.
The People’s Liberation Army also conducted military exercises in waters around China’s Hainan Island last year to rehearse capturing the Dongsha Islands. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) at the time assured the public that the military is fully aware of all developments and movements around the nation’s maritime border and that it has response mechanisms and plans in place for any incident.
The Coast Guard is responsible for the defense of the Dongsha Islands and Taiping Island. Personnel stationed on both are trained by the Marine Corps. The MND confirmed last June that Marines would be stationed on the Dongsha Islands for a short period of time to strengthen maritime patrol and defense capabilities. However, it did not reveal exactly how long they would stay.