Taiwan's coast guard on Saturday has commissioned two 3,000-ton patrol vessels, which are able to dock at a new port being constructed on Taiping Island before the year end, Reuters reported Saturday.
Taiping Island is a part of the naturally occurring Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, Taiwan's coast guard has direct oversight of the 46-ha (114-acre) island, also known as Itu Aba, since 2000.
"Taiping Island's defense capabilities will not be weak," said Wang Chung-yi, minister of the Coast Guard Administration in reference to recent upgradation on the 1,200-metre (yards) long airstrip on Taiping and the building of a new port that could be completed in coming October.
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou boarded one of the new ships on Saturday. He observed rescue drills in waters off the southern Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung. One of the vessels will be sent to the South China Sea, while the other will be assigned to waters north of Taiwan where it has overlapping claims with Japan.
Taiwan passes $5 trillion in ship-borne trade every year through south China sea.