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.
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