Asia

Taiwan holds rescue exercise in disputed South China Sea

  • A Taiwan Coast Guard ship, left, and cargo ship take part in a search-and-rescue exercise off of Taiping island in the South China Sea, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, as part of Taiwan's efforts to cement its claim to a key island in the strategically vital waterbody. Eight vessels and three aircraft took part in Tuesday's drill, which simulated a fire aboard a cargo ship that forced crew members to seek safety on Taiping in the Spratly island group. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

    A Taiwan Coast Guard ship, left, and cargo ship take part in a search-and-rescue exercise off of Taiping island in the South China Sea, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, as part of Taiwan's efforts to cement its claim to a key island in the strategically vital waterbody. Eight vessels and three aircraft took part in Tuesday's drill, which simulated a fire aboard a cargo ship that forced crew members to seek safety on Taiping in the Spratly island group. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)  (The Associated Press)

  • An aerial view shows a Taiwan Coast Guard vessel preparing for a search-and-rescue exercise off Taiping island, in the South China Sea , Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, as part of efforts to cement its claim to a key island in the strategically vital waterbody. Eight vessels and three aircraft took part in Tuesday's drill, which simulated a fire aboard a cargo ship that forced crew members to seek safety on Taiping in the Spratly island group. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

    An aerial view shows a Taiwan Coast Guard vessel preparing for a search-and-rescue exercise off Taiping island, in the South China Sea , Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, as part of efforts to cement its claim to a key island in the strategically vital waterbody. Eight vessels and three aircraft took part in Tuesday's drill, which simulated a fire aboard a cargo ship that forced crew members to seek safety on Taiping in the Spratly island group. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)  (The Associated Press)

  • Taiwanese Coast Guard carry a mock victim during a search-and-rescue exercise on Taiping island in the South China Sea, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, as part of Taiwan's efforts to cement its claim to a key island in the strategically vital waterbody. Eight vessels and three aircraft took part in Tuesday's drill, which simulated a fire aboard a cargo ship that forced crew members to seek safety on Taiping in the Spratly island group. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

    Taiwanese Coast Guard carry a mock victim during a search-and-rescue exercise on Taiping island in the South China Sea, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, as part of Taiwan's efforts to cement its claim to a key island in the strategically vital waterbody. Eight vessels and three aircraft took part in Tuesday's drill, which simulated a fire aboard a cargo ship that forced crew members to seek safety on Taiping in the Spratly island group. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)  (The Associated Press)

Taiwan has held a search-and-rescue exercise in the South China Sea as part of efforts to cement its claim to a key island in the strategically vital waterbody.

Eight vessels and three aircraft took part in Tuesday's drill, which simulated a fire aboard a cargo ship that forced crew members to seek safety on Taiping in the Spratly island group.

The official Central News Agency said coast guard and navy ships participated in the exercise.

Taiwan is one of six governments that claim territory in the South China Sea. Coast guard head Lee Chung-wei told journalists on Taiping that Taiwan's sovereignty over the island is "undeniable."

In recent years, Taiwan's chief rival, China, has been aggressively pushing its claim to virtually the entire South China Sea.