Taiwan holding military exercises to repel ‘potential invasion’ by China

(Pic courtesy: Central News Agency, Taiwan)

Taipei (NVI): Apprehending “invasion” by China, Taiwan’s military has launched exercises to test their capabilities to “defeat the enemy” in the near shore zones and to neutralise enemy forces on beaches and in other landing areas.

The five-day live-fire Han Kuang exercises, which began yesterday, will feature the debut of Taiwan’s combined arms battalions and a number of other firsts.

The Han Kuang exercises, aimed at honing the capabilities of Taiwan’s military in repelling a potential invasion from China, will involve live-fire drills and computer-assisted tabletop training, according to Central News Agency (CNA) of Taiwan.

According to the Ministry of National Defence (MND), some of Taiwan’s 22 combined arms battalions will be part of action for the first time.

First established in Taiwan in September 2019, the combined arms battalions bring together soldiers from infantry and cavalry units, liaison officers from different military branches, snipers, and unmanned aerial vehicle and missile operators, to form a unit capable of operating independently in the battlefield.

Another highlight of the exercises will be test-firing of an SUT heavyweight torpedo by a Chien Lung-class attack submarine to sink a target ship, according to the MND. This will be the first torpedo test by the Taiwanese Navy since 2007.

Reserve forces will participate in live-fire drills amid increased Chinese military activity around Taiwan and special forces from the military, police and Coast Guard units will make their first appearance in simulating a rescue of government leaders held hostage by invading forces, the report said.

According to the MND, the Han Kuang exercises will have three stages — maintaining combat capabilities upon the enemy’s first wave of attack, pursuing decisive victory in littoral seas, and overwhelming the enemy in landing areas, the CNA reported.

On the first day yesterday, the exercises involved the launch of Patriot surface-to-air missiles and Sky Bow air defence missiles to intercept a simulated missile attack on the Presidential Office.

Fighter jets deployed on the island’s west coast flew to the eastern side to avoid a simulated direct hit by enemy missiles and bombardments, while navy ships set sail, and armored vehicles took cover in culverts and under bridges.

Today, Taiwan Air Force jets took to the skies in an exercise to intercept a simulated air attack by hostile forces, according to CNA.

The Taiwan aircraft included the Indigenous Defence Fighters (IDF) and Mirage 2000 fighter jets, photos from the Military News Agency showed.

In the air defence drill that was the focus of Tuesday’s exercise, the operations on the ground involved radar vehicles and the Avenger Air Defence System — a U.S.-made self-propelled surface-to-air weapon against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other low-flying aircraft — the Ministry of National Defence’s (MND) news service said.

At the Military Police School Linkou Campus, special forces from the military, police and Coast Guard units conducted a drill that was a coordinated effort to rescue government leaders held hostage by invading forces inside vital government offices.

Meanwhile, sirens wailed across Taiwan at 1:30 p.m., signaling the start of a 30-minute public air-raid drill, and an alert was sent to people’s mobile phones at the beginning and end of the annual Wan An public drill, the CNA reported.

“This is an exercise simulating a missile attack, but it will not involve traffic controls or dispersal of pedestrians,” the text message at 1:30 p.m. read, reflecting the government’s decision this year not to clear the streets, to avoid having people clustering in shelters, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.