Taiwan military holds biggest exercises in five years

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Taiwan military holds biggest exercises in five years
May 22, 2019
By Elizabeth Shim


Taiwan naval battleships maneuver in Hualien, Taiwan, on Wednesday. Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EF

May 22 (UPI) -- Taiwan's military held its largest maritime drills in five years as tensions with China have risen since President Tsai Ing-wen assumed office.

The training on Wednesday came days ahead of the Han Kuang exercises, Taiwan's biggest annual military drill, scheduled to take place from Monday to May 31, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.

The drills included simulations of a mainland Chinese attack on the naval port of Suao, and included responses from a warfare center in Suao that notified the area. The Tsoying, a 9,525-ton Keelung-class destroyer, left Suao port, as did a Kang Ding-class frigate, three Cheng Kung-class frigates, a Chi Yang class frigate and two Ching Chiang-class patrol ships.

Two U.S.-manufactured Perry-class guided missile frigates were deployed on Wednesday.

A total of 22 fighter jets joined the drills, including Mirages, Indigenous Defense Fighters and F-16s.

The drill was divided into five operations, including air defense, submarine operations and sea command operations.

The Han Kuang exercises are to take place in Changhua and Pingtung, according to CNA.

China has previously warned Taiwan it will unify the island by force if necessary and has even conducted military exercises to admonish Taiwan.

Tsai is seeking to win the presidential primary.

Taiwan News reported this week Tsai is coming under criticism from her own party, the Democratic Progressive Party, for making a public appearance with a controversial party politician.

Opposition parties have challenged Tsai and have blamed her for declining ties with Beijing.

 

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Planes to land, takeoff on freeway Tuesday in Taiwan's military drill
2019/05/26


Photo courtesy of the Freeway Bureau


Taipei, May 26 (CNA) Fighter jets and other combat aircraft will use Taiwan's main highway as an emergency airstrip Tuesday, during this year's Han Kuang series of military exercises.

The aircraft will practice emergency take-offs and landings in the central county of Changhua, on the Huatan section of the main north-south National Freeway No. 1 that runs along the island's west coast.

The aircraft drill will be part of a series of live-fire exercises staged over five days, starting on Monday.

The Han Kuang exercises, Taiwan's most important war games, are held each year to test the combat capabilities of all branches of the armed forces, in the face of a continued military threat from China.

The landing and takeoff drill is an important part of the combat training for the Air Force in the event of an attack by China, the Air Force said in a statement.

Currently, there are four sections of the main north-south freeway that are designated as emergency runways in the event of war --the Huatan section in Changhua, the Minxiong section in Chiayi, and the Madou and Rende sections in Tainan.

Over the years, the military had staged emergency aircraft takeoff and landing drills on each of the four sections, with the last one on the Huatan section being conducted 12 years ago.

To facilitate the Han Kuang exercises, the section of Freeway No. 1 between Changhua and Yuanlin will be closed from Sunday to Wednesday, said Peng Huan-ru (彭煥儒), a section chief in the Freeway Bureau .

In preparation for the drills, 1,375 median barriers, 111 street lights and 77 road signs will be removed from the Huatan section of the freeway, according to the bureau.

Each emergency runway on the freeway is nearly three kilometers long, Peng said, adding that road maintenance, including resurfacing, has been carried out on the freeway in preparation for the exercises.

Three of the main fighter aircraft models in Taiwan's military -- the F-16 A/B, Mirage 2000-5 and Indigenous Defensive Fighter (IDF) - will take part in the drill, along with the E-2K airborne early warning aircraft, according to the Air Force.

Meanwhile, the annual Wan-an air-raid drills will begin Monday, with the first one scheduled for 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in northern Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said.

On Monday, the 30-minute drill will be carried out in Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu City and County, Keelung City, and Yilan County, the MND said.

After the first drill in northern Taiwan, the others will be conducted in Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung in southern Taiwan and the offshore county of Kinmen on Tuesday, and in Hualien and Taitung in eastern Taiwan and the offshore county of Lienchiang (Matsu) on Wednesday, the ministry said.

On Thursday, the drill will be held in the island county of Penghu and in the central Taiwan areas of Taichung, Changhua, Nantou, and Yunlin, as well as in Chiayi.

During the drills, pedestrians will be required to get off the streets and seek shelter, while vehicles will have to pull aside and stop, in keeping with the instructions of police, military, and evacuation personnel, according to the MND.

The system for the air raid alert, which was developed last year and tested on a small scale during the Wan An drills in central and southern Taiwan, has been expanded, the ministry said. As result, text messages will be sent this year to all mobile phones nationwide, warning of an incoming missile attack, the MND said.

The defense ministry has warned that failure to observe the evacuation regulations and other relevant procedures will result in a fine of between NT$30,000 (US$952) and NT$150,000.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Evelyn Kao)
Enditem/pc

 

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Taiwan lands aircraft on highway as part of military drills
By: Johnson Lai, The Associated Press  
29 Maya 2019


Taiwan warplanes are parked on a highway during an exercise to simulate a response to a Chinese attack on its airfields in Changhua in southern Taiwan. (Military News Agency via AP)

CHANGHUA, Taiwan — Taiwan landed warplanes on a normally busy highway Tuesday to simulate a response to a Chinese attack on its airfields, part of annual drills designed to showcase the island’s military capabilities and resolve to repel an attack from across the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen attended the exercise in the southern county of Changhua, not far from one of the island’s main air bases at Taichung, which comes amid perceptions of a rising military threat from China, whose rulers claim the island as their own territory.

"Our national security has faced multiple challenges," Tsai said. "Whether it is the Chinese People's Liberation Army's long-distance training or its fighter jets circling Taiwan, it has posed a certain degree of threat to regional peace and stability."

"We should maintain a high degree of vigilance," she added.

Aircraft deployed included American-made F-16, French Mirage 2000 and Taiwanese-made IDF fighter jets, as well as American-made E-2K airborne early warning aircraft.

The drill marked the debut of the first F-16 upgraded to the "V" configuration, featuring advanced radar and other combat capabilities. Taiwan’s Air Force is spending about $4.21 billion to upgrade 144 existing F-16A/Bs to the F-16V version under its Phoenix Rising project.

Taiwan is largely dependent on the U.S. for military hardware and has also asked to purchase entirely new F-16V fighters and M1 tanks.

American arms sales to Taiwan have long been a thorn in the side of U.S. relations with China, routinely drawing protests from Beijing that Washington was reneging on earlier commitments.

In a sign of growing security cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. under the Trump administration, National Security Council Secretary General David Lee met with his U.S. counterpart, John Bolton, earlier this month, drawing protest from China.

The visit was the first between national security chiefs from the two sides since the breaking off of formal diplomatic ties in 1979.

While no details were given, Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Monday that China expressed its “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to (the meeting).”
“We firmly oppose official exchanges in any form between the U.S. government and Taiwan on any pretext,” Lu said.

 

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Taiwan F16V Harpoon - Copy.jpg


An upgraded Taiwanese F16B - V carrying Harpoon and AMRAAM
 

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