Taiwan sees increasing militarization in South China Sea

Date: Mar 8, 2016

In rare public comment on territorial disputes in the South China Sea, Taiwan’s

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters

defense ministry warned on Wednesday that countries in the region were spending more on bolstering their military strength as tension in the area increased.

Taiwan’s claim to the South China Sea reflects that of mainland China, with both staking their territorial assertions on maps Chinese Nationalists drew up when they ruled the country before fleeing to Taiwan in 1949.

But Taiwan has stayed relatively low-key on the issue unlike mainland China, which has been backing up its claims with the construction of ports and airstrips on remote islands in the disputed waters.

“Neighboring countries have increased their military budgets and weapons procurement and are adjusting some of their military deployments and conducting joint drills at sea,” Taiwan Defence Minister Kao Kuang-chi told parliament as he presented it with his ministry’s latest defense report.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam also have overlapping claims to parts of the energy-rich waters through which more than US$5 trillion of maritime trade passes each year.     [FULL  STORY]