Taiwan Holds Military Exercises As Tensions With China Rise

In response, the Taiwanese military sends in jets and tanks, while ground troops detonate explosives to stop the advance.

The scenes are part of the Han Kuang exercises being held in Taiwan and its outlying islands through Friday. The annual event has been held since 1984 and involves all branches of Taiwan’s armed forces – including its reserve forces – in an effort to increase overall defense capabilities.

This year, the exercises took on greater significance amid growing concerns over China’s intentions towards Taiwan – an autonomous island that the Communist Party of Beijing claims as its own.

These concerns were compounded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Beijing has not ruled out using force to take control of Taiwan and has been exerting increasing military pressure on the island by sending aircraft into its self-declared air defense identification zone.

Beijing has also reacted sharply to reports that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering a trip to Taipei, warning that China’s military would “resolutely defend national sovereignty” if faced with “external forces” that encourage independence from China. Taiwan.

“China demands that the US take concrete steps to fulfill its commitment not to support ‘Taiwan independence’ and not arrange for Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan,” Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesperson Tan Kefei said in a statement. answering questions about Pelosi’s trip to Taipei.

“If the US insists on following its own course, the Chinese military will never sit idly by and will definitely take strong measures to prevent interference by any foreign force and separatist ‘Taiwan independence’ schemes and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. “Tan added.

The Han Kuang exercises are the largest annual live ammunition exercises held each year in Taiwan, a democratically governed island of 24 million people.

On Tuesday, with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen watching, the island’s military staged an attack on the Su’ao Naval Base, a major military port in northeastern Taiwan, with its forces playing the role of both aggressor and defender. .

For two hours, Mirage 2000 and F-16 jets flew to intercept warplanes encroaching from the east; helicopters tracked and attacked submarines, and guided missile destroyers fired cannons, missiles and torpedoes at an imaginary armada approaching the coast.

The exercises demonstrate “the ability and determination of our military to defend our country,” Tsai told troops afterwards. The Chinese military is likely to be among those most interested in how the exercises unfold.

On Monday, a Chinese combat and reconnaissance drone flew through Japan’s Miyako Strait before wandering into Taiwan’s east coast airspace, according to a flight path released by the Japanese Defense Ministry.

The exercises are also designed to “teach” residents how to respond if Taiwan is attacked.

For 30 minutes on Monday afternoon, traffic in Taipei was disrupted and residents took shelter as air raid sirens sounded throughout the city. Similar exercises are being held in Taiwan for the rest of the week.

The Taipei city government said the purpose of the air strike exercises was to teach the public the location of air raid shelters “in case of war”.

Both the US and Taiwan have warned that the island is under increasing military pressure from Beijing. This is partly reflected by the number of times China has sent its military aircraft into Taiwan’s self-declared air defense identification zone — including 56 planes in just one day last October. In response, Taiwan had to send fighter aircraft to intercept, issue radio warnings and deploy air defense missile systems to monitor activities.

Last year, Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said China could be able to mount a “full-scale” invasion by 2025, adding that cross-strait military tensions are at their “most serious” point. ” in the more than 40 years since he joined the army.

Since then, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and China’s refusal to condemn Moscow’s actions — has heightened speculation about Beijing’s intentions.

Last week, CIA Director Bill Burns said China has been closely studying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to calculate “how and when” it might decide to invade Taiwan. “I would not underestimate President Xi’s determination to assert control of China,” Burns said.

These assessments highlighted how Taiwan could best respond in the event of an invasion.

Chang Yan-ting, who served as the former deputy commander of Taiwan’s air force, told CNN that Taiwan needs to learn from Ukraine in combating a larger invading force and accelerate its development of asymmetric warfare capabilities.

Rather than focusing on conventional weapons like tanks, he said Taiwan should develop and buy new long-range missiles that can hit China’s military facilities in the event of war. “Taiwan is different from Ukraine because we are a densely populated island, so it would be difficult for residents to evacuate from Taiwan if war breaks out,” Chang said. Therefore, the Taiwanese military should focus its strategy on preventing the China People’s Liberation Army (PLA) landing in the first place, rather than retreating inland and risking battles in densely populated cities.

“We must prioritize an asymmetric warfare strategy that prevents Taiwan from becoming a war zone,” he said. “We can do this by urgently increasing our long-range strike capabilities so that we can hit enemy targets and eliminate their forces in (China’s) Fujian province if they launch an attack or if they try to cross the Taiwan Strait.”

“In this way, we can protect the lives of our citizens as much as possible – as well as the financial capital that our people have worked so hard to build on our land over the past seven decades.”

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

Check Also

Bia Haddad loses to Romanian, but becomes the best tennis player in Brazil since Guga – 08/14/2022

After a hard game, Beatriz Haddad from São Paulo lost today to the Romanian Simone …