President kept informed on China's military exercise: NSC

2018/04/18 11:11:15 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
President kept informed on China's military exercise: NSC

Mbabane, April 18 (CNA) Tsai Ming-yen (蔡明彥), deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC), said Wednesday that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will be kept up to date on a Chinese live-fire military exercise while traveling in Africa.

The president and her delegation arrived in Swaziland for a four-day visit on Tuesday, a day before the People's Liberation Army (PLA) held its military drill in the Taiwan Strait.

Tsai Ming-yen, who is part of the delegation in Swaziland, said the president has obtained sufficient information on China's military drill, and the NSC will keep her informed of new developments.

The NSC official said he will remain in close communication with defense and national security authorities in Taiwan to get a clear understanding of the PLA's exercise.

Taiwan's military has downplayed the significance of the military exercise, which has been branded as a form of psychological warfare employed by China to put pressure on Taiwan.

On Monday, Lieutenant-General Chiang Chen-chung (姜振中), director with the Ministry of National Defense's Office for Operations and Planning, said the drill will not have a major impact and that Taiwan's military had not upgraded its combat readiness.

China's military drill, scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to midnight in waters off Quanzhou in Fujian Province, was one of the factors that led to a steep decline in the Taiwan dollar earlier this week, as foreign investors worried the exercise could destabilize the region and moved their funds out of Taiwan.

On Monday, the U.S. dollar rose NT$0.123 to a three-month high against the Taiwan dollar before undergoing a mild correction on Tuesday.

The Taiwan dollar's depreciation sent the stock market down 1.32 percent on Tuesday.

Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺), who is also part of the president's delegation in Africa, described China's military drill as a routine event and said the public should not be worried about the cross-strait situation.

The state visit to Swaziland is the president's first trip to Africa after she took office in May 2016. Tsai is expected to arrive home at around noon Saturday.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Frances Huang)
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