Taiwan war games to mimic combat as closely as possible

By Reuters
June 24, 2024
Taiwan’s Han Kuang exercise seen in this image. — AFP/file

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s annual war games this year will be as close as possible to actual combat, no longer just putting on a show to score points but aiming to simulate real fighting given a rapidly rising “enemy threat” from China, a senior official said.

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China, which views democratically governed Taiwan as its territory, has been staging regular exercises around the island for four years to pressure Taipei to accept Beijing’s claim of sovereignty, despite Taiwan’s strong objections.

Taiwan starts its five-day Han Kuang exercises on July 22.

A senior Taiwan defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity to be able to speak more freely, said there was an urgent need to rethink how the drills were conducted.

“In recent years, the enemy threat has changed rapidly,” the official said. “Our defence combat plan must also be continuously revised on a rolling basis, and the urgency of comprehensive combat training is becoming more and more important.”

Elements that were mostly for show, like rehearsal drills, have been cancelled, while this year there will be nighttime exercises and, unusually, the capital Taipei will be included too, the official said.

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