Taiwan is well aware of the recent incident in which a US Navy warship sailed close by a
reef claimed by China in contested waters in the South China Sea, the country’s defense minister Kao Kuang-chi said Wednesday.
Kao’s ministry knew about the matter in advance, and “not from newspapers,” Kao said while answering lawmakers’ questions about the high-profile patrol a day earlier by the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen within 12 nautical miles of several reefs claimed by Beijing, including Subi Reef, in the Spratly Islands.
The lawmakers had expressed concern about whether the US had informed Taiwan of the patrol before it was carried out.
Asked if the incident would affect the ROC Navy’s scheduled patrols in the South China Sea, Kao said that such patrol plans will be implemented as scheduled. “There are aircraft sent to the South China Sea each month, each season or on other occasions to conduct resupply missions,” he noted. [FULL STORY]