The live-fire component of this year’s annual Han Kuang military exercises, Taiwan’s major war games involving all military branches, began yesterday morning and is to run until Friday to test the armed forces’ capability to fend off a Chinese invasion.
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.
Yesterday’s drills were focused on testing the military’s preservation and maintenance of combat capabilities in the event of a full-scale Chinese invasion.
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, a military source said.
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, the source said.
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.
Meanwhile, all of the nation’s major naval vessels left their home ports and sailed to designated locations off the coast in preparation for confronting enemy forces.
The ships’ early departure is a preventive measure in anticipation of enemy bombardment of Taiwan’s ports, a military source said.
A biological agent containment exercise was also held in southern Tainan, in response to a mock assault where troops were assumed to be attacked by bioweapons.
Soldiers were promptly sent to nearby hospitals for simulated treatment by civilian doctors.
The military also rehearsed its procedures for the decontamination of vehicles and equipment during the drill.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday wrote on Facebook that the exercises constituted a solid foundation for the nation’s security.
This year’s exercises in particular are aimed at showing the world the armed forces’ resolve in protecting the nation, she wrote.
The Han Kuang exercises have been held annually since 1984 in the form of live-fire drills and computerized war games.
This year’s tabletop drills were held from April 23 to 30.
The live-fire exercises were originally scheduled to start on July 12 and run for five days.
However, due to a domestic outbreak of COVID-19, the military postponed the live-fire component of the drill and rescheduled it for this week.
The scope of the drills has also been scaled down to contain any possible spread of the virus.
TIGHTENED RULES: Employees in the affected sectors must be fully vaccinated by Jan. 1 or provide an exemption certificate, and they must undergo COVID-19 testing People working in sectors supervised by the education, economics, labor, and health and welfare ministries must be fully vaccinated by next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. “Starting from Jan. 1, vaccination rules for workers at industries supervised by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Labor, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare will be further enhanced,” said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman. New employees and those returning to work must provide a negative COVID-19 test result — an antigen rapid test, at-home rapid
NO ENTRY: The refusal to process Lithuanian goods at Chinese ports suggests that they have been ordered to do so by an official entity, a trade group head said The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on the governments of other EU member states to jointly respond to Beijing blocking Lithuanian exports from entering China, as “Lithuania is not listed on the [Chinese customs] system as a country.” Lithuanian media Web site 15min.lt yesterday cited a Lithuanian wood exporter as saying that it was not allowed to unload its goods at an unnamed Chinese port. The company said that its Chinese partner cited customs authorities as saying that any merchandise or shipments related to Lithuania would be refused, effective immediately. Lithuanian timber exporter Sprusas confirmed that Lithuanian goods could be loaded
THREAT REMAINS: With cases rising in many parts of the world, the minister urged the public to continue complying with the disease prevention regulations Taiwan can be considered to have achieved “COVID zero” status, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, despite the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reporting 21 imported cases of COVID-19, the highest number of daily imported infections reported this year. Chen, who heads the CECC, said no local infections or deaths were reported, but 21 imported cases were confirmed yesterday. The imported cases are eight men and 13 women who arrived from Belize, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and the US, Chen said. The highest number of daily imported infections last year was 25 cases on March 23, he
‘RESOLUTELY COMMITTED’: Sparking a crisis in the Taiwan Strait would be in no one’s interest, starting with China, the US secretary of state told a conference US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Reuters Next conference on Friday that Chinese leaders should think carefully about their actions toward Taiwan, warning of “terrible consequences” if China precipitates a crisis across the Taiwan Strait. In an interview, Blinken addressed multiple foreign policy challenges facing the administration of US President Joe Biden, including faltering efforts to repair the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine and the spiraling conflict in Ethiopia. Most acute might be China’s increasingly aggressive posture toward Taiwan. Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) has said tensions with China are at their worst in