CHINA WAR FEARS: Taiwan holds ‘LARGEST’ military drill in years over invasion panic

The island, situated off the coast of south-east China, staged a drill featuring 22 warships and 22 fighter jets yesterday. The boats involved in the war simulation included two anti-aircraft and anti-submarine guided-missile warships, while the jets counted, among other aircraft, the Mirage 2000, the F-16 and the Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) – the nickname for the AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-kuo, a multirole combat aeroplane. The Taiwanese forces fired their cannons, missiles, depth charges and machine guns during the simulation. 

But they also worked on anti-submarine tactics in the waters close to coastal cities Suao and Hualien to tackle Chinese submarines, considered Beijing’s most worrying threat by Taiwan.

And land and naval forces together carried out a drill focused on defending strategic naval port towns, which included responding to a threat coming from the air, with enemy jets flying over the Taiwan Strait, according to Central News Agency.

One of the war simulations enacted saw IDF planes playing the part of the “enemy” and streaming towards Hualien’s port. 

Taiwan responded with four F-16 jets and four Mirages being scrambled to counter with dog-fighting and eight missile-laden speedboats rushing through the waves to strike from sea-level.

Taiwan has conducted a number of military exercises in the past years – but this one was the “largest at sea since the Han Kuang 30 exercises in 2014”, Taiwan News wrote.

This comes on the same day two US warships, USS Preble, a destroyer, and USNS Walter S. Diehl, a supply ship, sailed through the Taiwan Strait.

This move, which Washington said was “in accordance with international law”, is believed to have been done to show solidarity to Taiwan and other countries whose sovereignty isn’t recognised by China.  

The US Navy said in a statement: “The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,’ the navy said.

“The US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.”

Beijing has last month complained about international ships going through that strait, as it doesn’t accept the narrow passage as international waters.

In April, the Chinese Navy warned off a French warship that had entered the Taiwan Strait and lodged an official complaint with Paris, Beijing said.

China, formally the People’s Republic of China, sees Taiwan, formally the Republic of China, as a territory under its sovereignty which should be juridically reunited to the mainland – despite being two separate entities since 1949.   

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