Escalation sees Itu Aba allocated howitzers

EMPTY THREAT?The Vietnamese military has dug artillery positions on Sandy Cay, 13km from Itu Aba, but has not yet occupied them with military pieces, an official said

Taipei Times
Date: Jul 25, 2017
By: Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writer

The military has given the Coast Guard Administration six 155mm howitzers which it is holding in reserve for deployment on Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island 太平島) if more firepower is needed to bolster the island’s defenses, a defense official who declined to be named said on Sunday.

Itu Aba is the largest naturally occurring landmass in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), some or all of which are also claimed by China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.

The coast guard took up the military’s offer to supply heavy guns after reviewing the Ministry of National Defense’s recommendations in April for defending Itu Aba, which is the coast guard’s responsibility, the official said.

The howitzers are to be stored on Taiwan proper and would not be deployed unless nations with military bases near the island decide to undermine the balance of power by reinforcing their garrisons first, the official said.    [FULL  STORY]

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