Taiwan’s military on Monday kicked off an annual five-day live-fire exercise aimed at boosting the island’s defense capabilities and combat readiness as China and Taiwan’s allies face off in space. air and seas around the island.
The Han Kuang drills will be held at multiple locations in Taiwan, with President Tsai Ing-wen observing a large-scale naval exercise from a warship off Yilan County in northeast Taiwan on Tuesday, according to the ministry. Taiwanese National Defence.
More than 20 military aircraft and warships will take part in the Yilan exercise, including some of Taiwan’s native fighters and frigates. The two Chien Lung-class submarines, manufactured in the Netherlands for Taiwan, will also be deployed.
Taiwan is developing its own submarines with 2025 slated for the first to enter service.
“Inconvenient but necessary”
During the first day, Taiwanese fighter jets were dispatched to counter a simulated enemy air attack while local anti-aircraft artillery units surveyed the airspace. Military transport aircraft also evacuated fighter jet spare parts out of the combat zone, with an emphasis on “testing to preserve and maintain the army’s combat capabilities”.
The Ministry of Defense said in a press release that during the week, mobile military radar vehicles and warships will be deployed, and forces on Taiwan’s outer islands will also conduct a variety of exercises, including counter-attacks against beach landings.
Han Kuang, now in his 38e year, is Taiwan’s largest war games exercise involving all military branches and designed to test the army’s combat readiness in the event of a Chinese invasion.
This year’s drills will also test the preparedness and contribution of the population, the military said.
Most Taiwanese see the island as an independent, democratically ruled country, but Beijing calls it a province of China and has repeatedly vowed to reunite with the mainland, with force if necessary.
In recent months, Chinese aircraft have crossed Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) almost daily, and Chinese warships have patrolled the waters near Taiwan.
The Taiwanese people have trained to deal with imminent threats of war. A four-day air raid drill simulating Chinese air strikes began on Monday with air raid sirens going off in the capital, Taipei and other places in northern Taiwan. It will move towards the center and the south of the island during the week.
The 45e The Wan An exercise aims to enhance citizens’ awareness and preparedness. For half an hour, residents are required to vent stress and remain indoors to allow for emergency response. MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) subway stations are open but passengers will have to stay inside until the end of the exercise.
Suzy Tsang, an office worker who got stuck on the Taipei subway during the exercise, said she and her friends take part in the event every year.
“It’s quite inconvenient because you can’t move for 30 minutes but I think it’s necessary,” she said.
“Who knows when we will really need it,” Tsang added.