Aircrafts practised landing on a highway in southern Taiwan on Wednesday as part of an annual live-fire military exercise that simulates defending the island against an invasion by China. The live-fire component of this year’s annual Han Kuang military exercises. The Han Kuang Exercise is the annual military exercise of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Armed Forces in Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu for combat readiness in the event of an attack from the People’s Liberation Army of the People’s Republic of China.
The 37th edition of the annual event officially began after the Ministry of National Defense’s Joint Operations Command Center, also known as the Hengshan Command Center, announced the initiation of the five-day live-fire drills. The exercise is divided into two phases, which are the Command Post Exercise (CPX) and the computer-simulated war gaming followed by Field Training Exercises (FTX). Since at least 2017 the exercise has been fully bilingual with both mandarin and English being used.
As part of the drills, air force fighter jets that were originally deployed in the western part of Taiwan were dispatched to Hualien Air Base in the east in a simulation of an invasion. Military C-130 transport aircraft also sent military personnel responsible for fighter jet maintenance, together with related equipment and supplies, to designated locations in eastern Taiwan early in the day. Another source said that the aircraft included F-16Vs and Mirage 2000s, while Indigenous Defense Fighter jets were dispatched to air bases in western Taiwan.
An invasion of Taiwan would be a hugely costly and difficult endeavour but Beijing has increasingly closed the military gap in recent years and Xi has made no secret of his desire to see the island taken. U.S. have publicly warned that China could potentially carry off an invasion and the defence of Taiwan has become a rare bipartisan issue in Washington. The number of incursions for the first eight months of this year has already exceeded 400. Last year Chinese jets and bombers made a record 380 incursions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).