On Monday, Sept. 13, Taiwan began a series of mock military exercises aimed to test the island nation’s defenses against a military confrontation with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Dubbed the “Han Kuang Games” the five days of live fire drills will begin on Monday and continue throughout the week. This is the 37th annual war games conducted by the de facto island state.
The exercises come at a time when senior Taiwan military officials reportedly visited the United States for high-level defence and security talks.
The Hengshen Command Center deployed Air Force fighter jets, C-120 transport aircraft, F-16Vs and Mirage 2000s to the Hualien Air Base in eastern Taiwan with Naval forces also leaving their home ports.
In addition, E-2K airborne early-warning aircraft and P-3C submarine hunting planes were also deployed.
The games were initially scheduled to be held in July, but were postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
According to Taiwan’s defence ministry, the games began with a test of the Taiwanese military’s medical ability to respond to a simulated biochemical attack from the PLA. Part of the exercise involved sending soldiers to a nearby civilian hospital to receive treatment.
“Ministry officials said the forces would also be tested on their ability to preserve their combat strength in response to a simulated first strike from the PLA,” The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
Various warplanes were deployed from their bases in western Taiwan to the Jiashan military base in the east to practice temporarily sheltering. The drill was designed to practice preserving combat power prior to launching a counter-attack in response to a first-strike PLA attack.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC), a communist regime that governs the Chinese mainland, claims Taiwan as part of its territory. Taiwan is officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), its government having been driven by the communist rebellion from mainland China in 1949.
The Jiashan military base is built inside a mountain in Hualien and is reported to have a 7,500 ft taxiway that allows aircraft to navigate uninhibited. Jiashan is Taiwan’s largest underground bomb shelter for aircraft and has room for 200 fighters.
The military will also test its night combat readiness as well as the forces’ anti-air, surface and sea capabilities. Drills are expected to include tests of the military’s ability to respond to a “decapitation strike” by the PLA.
A “decapitation strike” is a military strategy aimed at removing the leadership or command and control of a government or group.
A major element of the exercises will be to conduct emergency take-offs and landings of fighter jets on the Jiadong wartime runway.
The Jiadong wartime runway is located on a section of the No 1 Pingtung Provincial Highway, a typically civilian piece of infrastructure.
This will be the first time the ROC military will test emergency take-offs and landings on emergency landing strips. Four stretches of highway, including an area on the Sun Yat-sen Freeway, have been identified for use in military emergency situations.
Communist China has recently stepped up its military intimidation of Taiwan by sending warplanes almost on a daily basis into ROC airspace.
On Saturday, Sept. 11, Taiwan sent aircraft, broadcast radio warnings and deployed air defense missile systems in response to a People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) plane entering its territory.