Taiwan Holds Drills to Beat Back Invasion Amid China Tensions

July 16, 2020 Updated: July 16, 2020

TAICHUNG, Taiwan—Taiwan’s air, sea, and land forces conducted live-fire exercises simulating the repulsion of an invading force on July 16, with President Tsai Ing-wen saying it showed their determination to defend the democratic island.

The Chinese regime considers Taiwan part of its territory despite the self-ruled island having its own government, military, and currency. It has stepped up pressure on Taiwan in recent years, including with regular air force intrusions into Taiwan airspace and naval exercises held near Taiwan.

On July 16, F-16 and domestically made Ching-kuo fighter jets launched strikes and tanks raced across inland scrub, firing shells to destroy targets on the beach. About 8,000 personnel took part in drills, held on a coastal strip near Taichung in central Taiwan.

The drills, dubbed “Han Kuang,” are Taiwan’s main annual exercises. This year’s come as China has stepped up its military activity around the island, including flying fighters and bombers close to what Beijing calls its “sacred territory.”

“The Han Kuang exercises are a major annual event for the armed forces, evaluating the development of combat abilities. Even more, it lets the world see our determination and efforts to defend the country’s territory,” Tsai told the troops.

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An AH-1 Cobra helicopter fires during the live-fire, anti-landing Han Kuang military exercise, which simulates an enemy invasion, in Taichung, Taiwan, on July 16, 2020. (Ann Wang/Reuters)
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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen leaves the annual Han Kuang military drill in, Taichung, Taiwan, on July 16, 2020. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Tsai, who won reelection by a landslide in January, pledging to stand up to China, has made military modernization a priority. Taiwan unveiled its largest defense spending increase in more than a decade last year.

“As I have said, national security does not rely on bowing and scraping but on solid national defense. All our officers and soldiers are the core of that,” she added.

Although Taiwan’s military is well-trained and well-equipped with mostly U.S.-made hardware, China has huge numerical superiority and is adding advanced equipment such as stealth fighters and new ballistic missiles.

China sees Taiwan part of “one China” and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.

Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.–China relationship. Beijing routinely denounces Washington’s support for the island.

By Ann Wang. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.