Taiwan forces simulated an invasion by mainland China on Thursday as part of live-fire military exercises against a backdrop of rising tensions with Beijing. The annual drills are Taiwan’s biggest military exercise and mocked up a scenario in which Chinese troops launched an amphibious assault. They took place on the outlying Penghu Islands, which sit in the strait that separates Taiwan from the mainland. The defence ministry has warned of a rising military threat from Beijing, which sees self-ruling Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified, by force if necessary. Taiwan stages live-fire military drills amid cross-strait row Taiwan’s military is boosting its firepower to counteract the risk, including launching its first ever home-grown submarine project and building a new generation of jet trainers. President Tsai Ing-wen presided over the drills and emphasised the importance of building up Taiwan’s indigenous defence industry. “When Taiwan shows its determination to take the road of defensive autonomy, it is putting on a display to the world of our determination to protect our home and land,” she said at a military base in Penghu after overseeing the exercise. As part of the drills, attack helicopters fired missiles and jet fighters including eight F-16s dropped bombs in the waters south of the archipelago to repel the enemy. Rocket artillery and tanks also fired rounds as far as 18 metres from the coast. The live-fire was not in the direction of the mainland. The defence ministry has said there is a growing risk of invasion from Chinese forces as relations with Beijing-sceptic Tsai deteriorate. China does not trust her traditionally pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party and has cut off all official communication with Taipei. Beijing has also sought to isolate the island diplomatically as Tsai refuses to acknowledge both sides belong to “one China”, unlike her mainland friendly predecessor Ma Ying-jeou. Taiwan expressed outrage earlier this month when it was refused a meeting to the World Health Organisation’s annual assembly under pressure from Beijing. Taiwan starts designing home-built attack submarine Thursday’s war games were part of an annual week-long exercise called “Han Kuang” aimed at measuring how effectively Taiwan forces could deal with a mainland China attack. Taiwan’s defence minister Feng Shih-kuan confirmed in March that Beijing is aiming advanced medium-range ballistic missiles at the island. The mainland has also increased drills in the Western Pacific and sent its sole aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait in January, moves Feng said were designed to pressurise Taiwan “to follow its plans in the development of cross-strait relations”.