Taiwan has conducted rescue drill exercises on the disputed Islands of the South China Sea on Tuesday while China has not yet reacted to the matter.

Besides the United States and China, there are other nations that also claim ownership over the South China Sea, including Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei. Where China is found to be responding negatively on rescue operations conducted by the claimants, its silence over Taiwan’s drill exercise is unexpected.

However, it is expected that the period of silence on Taipei’s operation over Itu Aba is limited and China must be planning something to respond to it. The South China Sea is a waterway that sees huge trade involving generation of revenue worth trillions of dollars every year. Hence, having ownership over it is a great achievement.

Around eight vessels and three aircraft participated in the search-and-rescue operation on the islands of the disputed sea. The launch of the operation prompted firing on a cargo ship that made the members seek safety on Spratly Island group’s Taiping region. According to reports, both navy ships as well as coast guard ships took part in the rescue drill exercise.

What was Taiwan’s purpose in conducting drills on South China Sea?

Coast guard head Lee Chung-wee said that Taiwan has the right to the sea. He also stated that Taiwan was aiming at converting the Taiping region into a hub for humanitarian relief missions. “The purpose of this drill is to tell international society that we are keen to conduct humanitarian relief on the island. We want to maintain peace in this region and put away disputes,” Lee said.

On the other hand, Reuters reported that National Institute for South China Sea Studies’ head Wu Shichun indicated China’s “responsive action” if the nation continued to launch such exercises in the future.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration gave its verdict in July against China favoring the United States over the South China Sea claims. It said that China was making false claims on the disputed island and it was the US that owned it.

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