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Taiwan fends off mock Chinese landing assault on beach

Taiwanese troops successfully thwarted a mock Chinese beach landing during annual military drills, showcasing their determination to protect the island amid increased sabre-rattling from Beijing.



NEW TAIPEI CITY, TAIWAN — Taiwanese troops on Thursday thwarted a mock Chinese beach landing, the latest exercise in the island’s week-long annual military drills simulating attacks by Beijing.

China, which regards self-ruled democratic Taiwan as its territory, has intensified its sabre-rattling in recent years, orchestrating near-daily incursions of warplanes and naval vessels around the island.

Taiwan’s five-day “Han Kuang” (Han Glory) wargames this year have included drills in varying settings — including Taipei’s main train station and its biggest international airport — and on different terrains.

Thursday’s anti-invasion drill took place on Bali beach — an important strategic position near the capital Taipei and a prime location for an amphibious landing, said Shih Shun-wen, political warfare director at the Taiwanese army’s Third Theatre of Operations.

“We know very well what the current cross-strait situation is and what the military threats are against us,” Shih told reporters.

“We want to convey this — we will do our utmost in protecting our country.”

Amphibious assault vehicles — marked red to signify they were Chinese for the purposes of the wargames — rolled steadily through the sand as crimson-helmeted soldiers raced alongside in the mock invasion.

But they were impeded by Taiwanese tanks and troops, who navigated their way around tall grasses and past coloured smoke plumes.

“In the future, the threats and challenges we face will become more and more complicated,” said Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who watched Thursday’s drill dressed in army fatigues.

She was also wearing a face mask after being diagnosed with Covid this week — though only with mild symptoms.

Without mentioning China, she said that Taiwan needed to “envision the situation of hybrid threats in advance to formulate relevant plans and enhance the drills”.

“With everyone’s concerted efforts, we fully demonstrated our combat intention to prevent the enemy from establishing a beachhead, and successfully completed this joint anti-landing combat mission,” she said.

Since Tsai — who does not accept that Taiwan is a part of China — came to power in 2016, Beijing has stepped up military and political pressure on the island.

In the past year, the Chinese military has held two massive drills around Taiwan, simulating targeted strikes and a blockade of the island.


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