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Taiwan stages Chinese invasion war games with Ukraine in mind

#Taiwan #stages #Chinese #invasion #war #games #Ukraine #mind

Taiwan on Monday launched its biggest annual military drills, with trench warfare and Stinger shoulder-launched missiles used against simulated Chinese attacks in drills informed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Democratic Taiwan is in constant danger of being conquered by China, which sees the self-governing island as part of its territory, to be taken by force if necessary.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine has heightened fears that Beijing may similarly follow through on its threats to annex its much smaller and underarmed neighbor.

This year’s five-day “Han Kuang” (Han Glory) war games have incorporated lessons learned from the ongoing European war and simulated “any possible action” China could take to invade Taiwan, according to the Defense Ministry.

On Monday, machine gun-armed reservists ran into sandbagged trenches dug under a bridge before getting into firing position during an exercise aimed at denying enemies entry into the capital Taipei.

“The underground bunkers help cover the troops and repel the enemy’s assault troops,” said Su Tzu-yun, a military expert at the Institute of National Defense and Security Research in Taiwan.

“They are part of the Ukrainian urban warfare.”

Stinger missiles, which are effective against helicopters and low-flying aircraft, have also been used in some high-rise buildings in the area, he said.

The high-portability missiles were invaluable to the Ukrainian Armed Forces in combat against the Russian Air Force.

Separately, streets in several northern cities were empty for 30 minutes as part of a civilian air-raid exercise, with pedestrians and cars banned, after sirens and text message alerts warned of mock missile attacks.

Beijing’s saber-rattling has increased significantly since Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, as she dismissed stances that the island belongs to China.

Bill Burns, director of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, recently said China appears determined to use force in Taiwan, with Russia’s experience in Ukraine informing its calculations of when and how – not if – it should invade.

According to a database compiled by AFP, Taiwan recorded 969 incursions by Chinese warplanes into its air defense zone last year – more than double the roughly 380 in 2020.

The number of missions has reached more than 600 so far this year.

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