South China Sea: Taiwan to conduct live-fire drill amid rising tensions

The live-fire exercises are to be held on the Taiwanese controlled Pratas Island according to Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration (CGA). A notice issued by the CGA, stated that a similar live-fire drill was also carried out on Monday.

The notice warned both naval vessels and aircraft of the drill before it began at 8am.

Neither Taiwan’s military, nor the CGA have confirmed whether live ammunition was fired during Monday’s exercises.

Both rounds of drills have an expected danger zone of up to eight nautical miles from the island and a maximum projectile altitude of 12,000 feet.

These live-fire exercises are part of the CGA’s scheduled drills for the first quarter of 2021.

In recent months, Chinese military aircraft have encroached on the airspace near the Pratas Islands on a nearly daily basis.

The southwest part of Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) has seen an especially large increase in activity.

Pratas Island is the largest of the South China Sea islands at 1.7 miles long and lies approximately 170 nautical miles SouthEast of Hong Kong.

The island is only one of two islands currently controlled by Taiwan in the South China Sea.

READ MORE: Xi Jinping flexes military muscle as China ‘steps up presence’

CGA personnel trained by Taiwan’s Marine Corps are currently manned on both Taiwanese controlled islands in the South China Sea.

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