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Taiwan denies report of simulated island landing drill

Taiwan denies report of simulated island landing drill




Taiwan's military authorities Wednesday denied a report that a landing drill will be held on the outlying Penghu islands later this year with the aim of fighting foreign occupation of the Diaoyu Islands.

"The military drills under the Han Kuang exercises are still being planned," spokesman Major General Luo Shou-he said.

He added that the exercises are aimed at testing the military's ability to defend Taiwan proper and Penghu and described the Diaoyus as a different issue.

Taipei's Chinese-language Liberty Times reported Wednesday a rumor in the military that a drill simulating the retaking of an island will be held on Penghu as part of the annual Han Kuang series of exercises.

The newspaper said the military is planning the drill amid rising tension between China and Japan since last year when the Japanese government "nationalized" some of the islets in the island group.

China and Japan have deployed aircraft to the area in recent weeks in a further escalation, although no actual clashes have taken place.

However, Luo reiterated that the military is keeping tabs on the situation relating to the disputed island group in the East China Sea and is prepared for all contingencies.

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