The military would for the first time use the nation’s main airport for a simulation of local troops repelling Chinese paratroopers during next month’s Hang Kuang exercises, a defense official said on condition of anonymity yesterday.
The drill, planned for July 26, would mark the first time a counter-airborne assault drill is staged at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the official said.
The army’s special forces would assume the role of aggressor in the exercise, while regular ground forces would act as the defenders, the official said.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Flights would be suspended for an hour during the exercise, and the Ministry of National Defense would inform airlines and civil aviation authorities about the details at an appropriate time, the official said.
This year’s Han Kuang military exercises are to take place from July 24 to 28.
The live-fire component of the military exercises next month would also for the first time hold an emergency landing and takeoff drill at a civilian airport in Taitung County, and would involve the use of F-16 jets and C-130H Hercules transport aircraft, a military source said on Saturday.
Photo: Taipei Times
The drill will be staged at Taitung Fengnian Airport, which opened in 1981.
The purpose of the drill is to test Taiwan’s civilian airports and emergency landing strips to make sure they are capable of handling takeoff and landing missions in wartime, the source said.
In other news, the military yesterday reiterated that it would strike Chinese warships and warplanes in defense if they were detected within Taiwan’s 12-nautical-mile (22.2km) territorial space.
The comment came after Chinese warplanes on Saturday were spotted flying close to the airspace under Taipei’s control for the first time in six months.
The ministry said that 19 Chinese warplanes were detected around Taiwan from 6pm on Friday to 6am on Saturday, including an unspecified number of J-10 and J-16 fighters.
Among the 19, eight crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and approached the outer boundary of the contiguous zone, which is 24 nautical miles from Taiwan’s shore.
Although the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has frequently sent planes and ships in the vicinity of Taiwan and flown over the median line, it rarely sends them near Taipei’s contiguous zone.
In other news, Mike Rogers, chairman of the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Armed Services, arrived last night in Taiwan for a three-day visit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Rogers, a Republican, is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation that includes Democratic US representatives Adam Smith, Joe Courtney, John Garamendi and Jill Tokuda, and Republican US representatives David Rouzer, Gary Palmer, James Moylan and Corry Mills.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) extended her welcome to the US legislators and is to receive the delegation this afternoon, Presidential Office spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said last night.
The Tsai administration hopes that the US lawmakers’ visit will facilitate a deepening of trade and security ties between Taipei and Washington, and contribute to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, she said.
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