Taiwan denies being part of initiative to share real-time naval data with US, Japan


Taiwan on Thursday categorically denied that it is part of tripartite plans to share intelligence gathered by naval reconnaissance drones with the US and Japan. 

The Defense Ministry “has not yet been informed of plans to share real-time data from naval reconnaissance drones with the US and Japan as has been reported by some media outlets,” it said on Twitter.

Taipei’s denial came after reports suggested that the island nation, which China considers as its “breakaway province,” planned to use its forthcoming MQ-9B Sea Guardian drones in such a manner.

“The US, Taiwan and Japan are to share real-time data from naval reconnaissance drones, according to four people familiar with the project, demonstrating Washington’s push to strengthen co-ordination in the event of a Chinese attack on Taiwan,” the Financial Times reported.

However, the Defense Ministry dismissed such claims.

“We would like to kindly request that due diligence be exercised in verifying the source of information to prevent misleading the public,” it said.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin meanwhile said that the one-China principle was a “universally recognized basic norm in international relations, a prevailing consensus among the international community, and the political foundation of China-US and China-Japan relations.”

Reiterating China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity over Taiwan, Wang said: “We are firmly opposed to any form of military contact between the Taiwan region and countries that have diplomatic relations with China.”

“We urge the relevant countries to abide by the one-China principle and stop creating factors that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait. China will firmly safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.

China on Thursday flew 37 of its military aircraft into the defense zone around Taiwan, which has insisted on its independence since 1949.

“This is not a question about China’s foreign affairs. Taiwan is part of China. We never waver in our resolve and determination to uphold China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Wang replied when asked about the People’s Liberation Army jets entering the zone.

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