Taiwan is likely to build a naval base at Taipang for its fighter and maritime patrol aircraft to counter potential stand-off in the conflicted Spratlys island region.
According to a report published by Center for Strategic and International Studies, Taiwan might land on Taiping island to launch reconnaissance and perhaps military operations against the PLA Navy's expansion in the region.
Taiping possesses the third-largest airfield in the region. It is also the largest natural island in the disputed South China Sea's Spratly island chain.
The Spratlys are the most contested island group in the South China Sea, claimed in whole or in part by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.
With a flying radius of 960 kilometers, the ROC Air Force's P-3C patrol aircraft can carry out reconnaissance operations over southern and central China.
The P-3C is capable of landing on the 1,195-meter long airstrip built on Taiping like the Air Force's F-16 fighter and C-130 cargo plane.
However Taiwan has no intention to use the airfield on Taiping for military purposes, Luo Shao-he, spokesperson for the ROC Ministry of Defense was quoted as saying by Want China Times today.
The airfield was built basically for C-130 cargo planes to carry out humanitarian operations in Southeast Asia, Luo added.
China's airfield on Fiery Cross island is now the largest military air base in the Spratlys, making the country the only nation capable of deploying strategic bombers to the region. The second-largest airfield, located at Swallow Reef, is under the administration of Malaysia.
Even though Taiwan officially claims its stricter humanitarian use, it could still be converted into an air base. If necessary, US military aircraft could even land on the island to launch reconnaissance and perhaps military operations against the PLA Navy's expansion in the region.
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