Taiwan Holds Live-Fire Drills Close To China's Mainland
TAIWAN - Taiwan held live-fire military exercises and drills off China's mainland. Taiwan says that more drills are also planned this month at the Pratas islands (Dongsha islands) in the South China Sea, and are to boost combat readiness
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said that the live fire exercises were carried out at dawn in Dongyin and Penghu, two of Taiwan's islands that are positioned close to mainland China.
Dongyin is located about 30 miles east of the Fujian province in China and about 115 miles northwest of Taiwan's mainland. Both islands have been under Taiwanese control since the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
Dongyin island is heavily fortified with cruise missiles, including Taiwanese Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles and Sky Bow II surface-to-air anti-ballistic missiles.
Sheu Jyh-Shyang, who is a military expert at the Taiwan's Institute for National Defense and Security Research stated, Dongyin island is the "most strategically important outlying island". It is also useful for reconnaissance due to the fact that it is "it is close enough to China to detect aircraft and vessels" he said.
On February 5th, a Chinese Y-12 light twin-engine civilian aircraft flew close to Dongyin but didn't go into Taiwanese airspace.
Ian Easton, senior director at the Project 2049 Institute think tank said, "Chinese authorities sent a civilian aircraft over one of the most dangerous and heavily fortified islands on the planet".
"If Taiwan shoots, it provokes an armed response. If Taiwan shows restraint (which it did), it looks and feels weak".