Taiwan deploys more marines to Dongsha Islands

Published: August 8,2020 02:28 PM

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Aug 8, 2020: Taiwan's military has dispatched more of Marine Corps to China-claimed Dongsha Islands in the South China Sea.

Aug 8, 2020: Taiwan's military has dispatched more of Marine Corps to China-claimed Dongsha Islands in the South China Sea after reports surfaced that Beijing is planning to carry out a simulated invasion in the atolls, according to Taiwan News. Earlier on Monday, Japan's Kyodo News, cited PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang as saying, in Hong Kong's Bauhinia Magazine that the PLA Navy will stage a landing exercise on China's Hainan Island to simulate an invasion of Dongsha Islands.

However, Li rejected this, claiming that he was referring to an article published by Kyodo News earlier. In response to the development, Taiwan's defence ministry has been on alert since reports emerged in May, saying that the PLA is planning a mock invasion with Chinese-state run Global Times asserting that it could become a "real invasion". On July 30, Democratic Progressive Party legislator Wang Ting-yu was quoted as saying by CommonWealth Magazine that the Marine Corps has sent additional companies of troops to protect the Dongsha Islands and the military are "prepared for the worst".

In a stern warning to China, Wang said that if enemy forces captured the Dongsha Islands, the military has prepared a "Border Protection Battle Plan", in which Army airborne special operation forces will collaborate with the Marines to launch a counterattack by sea and air from Taiping Island in Taiwan. In May, the 99th Marine Brigade, also known as "Iron Force," was deployed to Dongsha Islands for the first time in 20 years, Wang told the magazine. He stated that the force has been trained by the US military to defend against landings and airborne assaults with the operating principle of "doing the most with the least".

As per the strategy, the Navy would deploy a special task force carrying a battalion of Marines to Taiping Island to begin amphibious landing operations and collaborate with the Air Force. The Navy would also utilise C-130 transport planes to deploy special forces units via airdrop or tactical landing to reinforce Taiping Island, as per Taiwan News. China does not recognise those sovereign states who have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Although Taiwan is not recognised by the United Nations, its government maintains a relationship with the US and does not accept Chinese authority. The US frequently conducts military operations near Taiwan to reassert the US-Taiwan relationship, gestures that anger Beijing.