Taiwan’s military drills: How useful are they? | DW News

Taiwan held a mock drill at its main international airport for the first time Wednesday that simulated an enemy attack on the country and its readiness to respond to it. The anti-aircraft landing drill at the island’s main Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei was part of Taiwan’s annual and biggest live-fire drills of the kind. The drills, called Han Kuang exercises, began earlier in the week on Monday. They also focused on protecting Taiwan’s infrastructure and striking enemy ships to keep key waterways open.

Six helicopters, including Apache attack helicopters, and 180 soldiers were part of the mock drills at the airport, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry.
They were meant to repel an attack by an enemy force that had taken over air traffic control facilities at the airport, the ministry said. Soldiers were seen carrying rifles and running on the runway to fight against enemy forces that had landed via helicopters. Shortly after, a soldier waved Taiwan’s national flag at the airport, signaling their victory.

President Tsai Ing-wen, overseeing a separate drill at an oil refinery in the northern city of Taoyuan, said “We must continue to boost Taiwan’s resilience for disasters so that when facing threats, we can recover fast and minimize the impact of operation outages.”

“The protection of the oil refinery was incorporated into this Han Kuang exercise to simulate possible attacks or disasters to establish comprehensive contingency measures, and effectively protect our critical infrastructure,” Tsai said. The military also held a key infrastructure defense drill at Taipei’s main train station practicing to take back control of the transport hub in the event of fighting in Taipei.

Tense relations between China and Taiwan
Beijing considers the self-ruled territory of Taiwan as its own and has vowed to bring it under its control in the future, using force if necessary. For the past three years, Beijing has stepped up military pressure against Taiwan and has regularly held military missions around the island. While the US cut diplomatic relations with Taipei in favor of Beijing in 1979, it maintains close unofficial ties. The US is bound by law to provide Taipei with weapons to defend itself, though it maintains “strategic ambiguity” on whether it would intervene should Beijing invade the island.

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