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Taiwan military exercise focuses on anti-blockade island | Military News

Tensions across the Taiwan Strait have risen following recent Chinese military drills, with a two-stage Han Kuang exercise set to begin next month.

Taiwan will begin conducting the Han Kuang military exercise through computer simulation next month as it focuses on combating the blockade of the island and maintaining the combat effectiveness of its forces, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry.

The annual exercise will begin on May 15 with a five-day tabletop exercise. The live-fire exercise will begin on July 24 and last for five days.

The focus will be on “protection” and “maritime interdiction” of combat forces and will include civilian airfields, the Ministry of Defense said in a news conference.

The naval force will integrate sea, air, and land forces to attack enemy forces and amphibious assault ships, and to protect sea lanes and counter blockades.

“Of course, our exercise is based on the threat of the Communist Party invading Taiwan and its recent military maneuvers around Taiwan,” Gen. Lin Wenhuang, the ministry’s head of combat planning, told reporters.

China, which claims the self-ruled island as its own, has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen was first elected president in 2016. Beijing has also sought to isolate the territory internationally.

Earlier this month, after Tsai Ing-wen met with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California, Beijing conducted several days of precision strikes and blockades around Taiwan, echoing actions after McCarthy’s predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, visited Taiwan last year.

It is not ruled out that China, which uses force to control Taiwan, sees Tsai as a “separatist” and claims that she is bent on independence. Tsai Ing-wen said that the people of Taiwan should be the ones who decide their future.

The Chinese navy last week shared an elaborate video celebrating its 74th anniversary showing its aircraft carrier Shandong and a new amphibious assault ship simulating an attack and landing somewhere in the “Western Pacific,” suggesting they were planning for a surprise attack from Taiwan. event.

“Maintaining national sovereignty and territorial integrity requires a strong navy,” Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said Wednesday when asked what message the video was trying to convey.

“It is impossible for the DPP authorities to collude with external forces to split the country,” she said, referring to Taiwan’s ruling party.

Taiwan is trying to bolster its defenses by investing in new equipment such as long-range missiles and drones, and by extending compulsory military service to one year.

While Taiwan’s military is generally well-trained and equipped with mostly American-made hardware, China has a huge numerical advantage and is adding advanced equipment such as stealth fighter jets.

Taiwan’s national security chief, Tsai Ming-yan, told reporters in parliament that China was using new “cognitive warfare” methods to try to influence public opinion and spread fake news ahead of January’s presidential election.

“We need to continue to focus on what they did in the electoral process,” he said

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