The annual Han Kuang military exercises that begin today are to feature the debut of Taiwan’s combined arms battalions.
The exercises, aimed at honing the nation’s ability to repel a Chinese invasion, are to last five days and consist of live-fire drills and computer-assisted tabletop training.
The Ministry of National Defense said that some of the nation’s 22 combined arms battalions would see action for the first time in the exercises.
Established in September last year, combined arms battalions bring together soldiers from infantry and cavalry units, liaison officers from different branches, snipers and uncrewed aerial vehicle and missile operators, to form a unit capable of operating independently on the battlefield.
Another highlight in this year’s exercises is to come on Wednesday, when a Chien Lung-class submarine is to test-fire a surface and underwater heavyweight torpedo to sink a target ship, the ministry said.
This would be the navy’s first torpedo test since 2007.
Reserve forces are to participate in live-fire drills for the first time amid increased Chinese military activity around Taiwan, and special forces from the military, police and coast guard would make their first appearance in simulating a rescue of government leaders held hostage by invading forces.
The ministry said the drills would proceed in three stages: maintaining combat capabilities upon an enemy’s first wave of attack, pursuing decisive victory in littoral seas and overwhelming an enemy in landing areas.
The military would not engage in landing drills involving inflatable craft following a fatal incident on July 3 that left two marines dead and one in critical condition, it said.
The drills would instead be performed using amphibious assault vehicles.
In related news, the annual public air drills are to be held tomorrow afternoon, but this year traffic controls would not be enforced during the 30-minute exercise, the ministry said.
Air raid warnings are to sound at 1:30pm tomorrow to signal the start of the drill and at 2pm to mark its conclusion, the ministry said, adding that pedestrians would be allowed to continue on their way during that time.
The ministry said it this year dropped the restrictions on outdoor movement during the exercise to comply with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
Another break from the past is that the Wan An No. 43 drills would be held across Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on the same day, instead of being held on different days in different parts of the country, it said.
This year’s drill would focus on the air raid warnings’ coverage in rural areas, it added.
SELF-RELIANCE: Taiwan would struggle to receive aid in the event of an invasion, so it must prepare to ‘hold its own’ for the first 70 days of a war, a defense expert said Taiwan should strengthen infrastructure, stock up on reserves and step up efforts to encourage Taiwanese to fight against an enemy, legislators and experts said on Tuesday last week. The comments sought to summarize what the nation should learn from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has exceeded 300 days, since Feb. 24 last year. Institute of National Defense and Security Research fellow Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said that the war in Ukraine highlighted the importance of being ready for war. Taiwan’s development of an “asymmetrical warfare” doctrine and extending mandatory conscription to one year is a good start to preparation of defense against a
The Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday said it would delay the lifting of the indoor mask mandate, citing public health considerations and ongoing discussions on how the policy should be implemented. Earlier this week, Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, said officials from several ministries were working on the policy and an announcement would be made yesterday. However, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the CECC, yesterday said that the policy was still under review. Wang said its implementation would be “delayed slightly” due to three main factors. First, the center
END OF SERIES: As the first generation of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are set to expire, the CECC would no longer offer them to children younger than four years old The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of a person infected with the Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant of SARS-CoV-2. The Taiwanese man in his 20s arrived from Canada on Jan. 22, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), who is deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division. He tested positive after reporting having a runny nose and muscle soreness while in airport quarantine, Lo said. The XBB.1.5 subvariant is the dominant strain in the US, but there is no evidence to suggest that it causes more severe illness than other Omicron subvariants, he said,
NORMALIZING TIES: The delegation led by the KMT’s Johnny Chiang is to meet with British lawmakers, think tanks and business groups to discuss developments A legislative delegation led by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) arrived in the UK yesterday to rally support for Taiwan’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Chiang heads the Legislative Yuan’s Taiwan-UK Interparliamentary Amity Association. The delegation also includes KMT legislators Ma Wen-chun (馬文君), Wen Yu-hsia (溫玉霞), Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷), Sandy Yu (游毓蘭) and Wu I-ding (吳怡玎). The group is to meet with British lawmakers Alicia Kearns, who chairs the British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee; Tobias Ellwood, who chairs the House Defence Select Committee; and Bob Stewart, who cochairs the