President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) wrapped up his inspection of the nation’s annual Han Kuang military exercises yesterday with a quick tour of a military site in Taoyuan.
During his 30-minute tour, he was briefed by military officials on the progress of the Han Kuang series of drills, the nation’s most important war games involving the army, air force and navy.
“I have other schedules to keep,” Ma said, explaining his short visit.
Ma was accompanied by several high-ranking officials, including Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱), National Security Council Secretary--General Hu Wei-jen (胡為真) and Presidential Office Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權).
Ma has been inspecting the exercises since he returned on Wednesday from a 12-day trip to Burkina Faso, Swaziland and The Gambia.
His absence at the start of the exercises drew criticism from opposition lawmakers, who accused him of neglecting national defense.
The annual Han Kuang exercises were first held more than two decades ago, with the aim of honing the nation’s response to a possible military attack by China.
This year’s exercise is focusing on a massive relocation of troops from the south to the north, 298 Brigade Commander General Chu Yung-yaun (朱永元) said.
The scenario is an attempt by Chinese troops to occupy the northern regions of the nation, including the two airports in the area. About 1,800 troops and 340-plus vehicles are being deployed from Pingtung to the north of the country. A total of 215,000 military personnel are involved in the exercise this year, it said.