Military closely watching warship movements near Taiwan: official

Taipei, Taiwan's military is closely monitoring waters near Taiwan but has detected no indications of military maneuvers, a Ministry of National Defense (MND) intelligence official said Wednesday.

Wang Shao-hua (???), director of the MND's Joint Intelligence and Research Center, made the comments at a legislative session when asked by a lawmaker whether the U.S. military has proposed a series of drills near Taiwan in November as reported in the media, after sending two warships through the Taiwan Strait Monday.

Declining to answer the question directly, Wang said the military was continuing to monitor the situation.

However, the U.S. military is reportedly planning to conduct a military exercise in Guam in late October and early November, he added.

The question was asked by legislator Tsai Shih-ying (???) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party after the U.S. Navy sent two vessels through the Taiwan Strait earlier this week, an action seen by Taiwan as a demonstration of support for the nation.

Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) and the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Oct. 22 in accordance with international law.

"The ships' transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows," Logan said in an email response to CNA.

Asked by opposition Kuomintang legislator Chiang Chi-chen (???) whether U.S. warships passing through the strait will become routine, Wang said the defense ministry has no comment because U.S. Navy warships have the right of free passage in international waters as part of freedom of navigation operations.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel