Taiwan plans more war games

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2007, 12:00am

Taiwan will stage 43 war games, including 26 large joint exercises this year to strengthen its combat readiness in the face of what it says is a growing military threat from the mainland.

The Hankuang (Chinese Glory) No23 exercise would be the most important of the drills, involving massive combined live-fire operations to test the preparedness of the air force, navy and army in the event of a war, the island's defence ministry said yesterday.

Defence chief Lee Jye has demanded that all Taiwanese forces undergo live-fire practice as frequently as possible so that they will be able to swiftly deal with any invading forces, in the face of continuing military expansion by the mainland, which has 900 missiles targeting the island and has increased its defence budget by nearly 18 per cent this year.

Defence ministry spokesman Major-General Wu Chi-fang said the war games to be staged between April and May would include computer-simulated exercises and live-fire practice.

The ministry said the war games would be staged in off-shore northern, central, southern and eastern Taiwan. Drills on the islands of Quemoy, Matsu and Penghu would focus on repelling beach landings and enemy infiltration, and those in northern Taiwan would concentrate on live-fire air and naval drills.

The drills in central Taiwan will involve defence of ports and anti-aircraft operations, while those in southern Taiwan would involve anti-landing exercises, and those in the east, defence of major airports.

Meanwhile, the People's Liberation Army Daily reported on Monday that in a recent live-fire drill in the Pacific, mainland forces had used missiles to 'sink an enemy Knox-class destroyer' before it could react. Knox-class destroyers are major vessels used in Taiwan's navy fleet.