Annual military drills in Taiwan to start in the last week of July
Taiwan is set to pursue the second phase of its annual military drills amid rising tensions with China.
Taiwan is set to begin the second phase of its annual military drills, the Han Kuang exercises, claiming that it is preparing itself for the advent of a "potential offense from China."
The Han Kuang exercises are a series of military drills that have been taking place for the last 38 years and have a long history of being sponsored by the US on all fronts and most recently approved the sale of equipment, training, and other services worth $95m to support the island’s military capabilities.
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The first phase of the drills took place from May 16 to 20 in the northernmost territory on a remote island that is strategically located at a chokepoint near China. The second phase of the drills is scheduled to start on July 25 and last until July 29, with the main objective being to safeguard the Taipei port.
The Taipei port is one of Taiwan’s seven major international commercial ports and is strategic due to its location near the estuary of the Tamsui River, which the Taiwanese believe that if captured, would allow the Chinese to ship military equipment.
The goal of the drills, according to the Taiwanese military, is to practice the response to military actions by Chinese helicopters and fighter-bombers. The objectives are also to train soldiers from three branches of armed forces to clear the territories at sea and along the coastline by using different types of arms and equipment in case of an attack.
This comes after heavy criticism from the part of the Chinese towards US-Taiwan military collusion. On July 7th, General Li Zuocheng told General Mark Milley during a virtual meeting that China had "no room for compromise" on issues affecting its "core interests," which include self-governing Taiwan.
China sees that Taiwan, which is off its east coast, is part of its territory. The two Chinese territories split in 1949, during the Chinese Civil War. During the war, the Chinese Communist Party took control of mainland China and the nationalists formed an opposition government in Taiwan.
Despite US support for the island and its attempts to further provide it with arms and at one point "pledging to defend the island from a Chinese invasion", thus increasing tensions in the region, the Biden administration still claims that it is committed to the "One-China policy" and its "Strategic Ambiguity" towards its stance on Taiwan's separatism.
"China demands the US ... cease reversing history, cease US-Taiwan military collusion and avoid impacting China-US ties and stability in the Taiwan Strait," Li said.