Taiwan Bolsters Defense Strategy Amid Rising Tensions with China
Taiwan Bolsters Defense Strategy Amid Rising Tensions with China

Taiwan is gearing up for its annual military exercises, with a focus this year on simulating scenarios where China's routine drills escalate into actual attacks. The Taiwanese defense ministry announced on Tuesday that the drills will include tactics to break blockades at sea and respond swiftly to sudden threats from China.

For the past four years, China has been conducting regular exercises near Taiwan, aiming to assert its claim over the island, which it considers its territory. Despite Taiwan's objections, these exercises have been a source of tension between the two governments.

The main phase of Taiwan's annual Han Kuang exercises will begin this month with tabletop drills, extended to eight days to accommodate various scenarios. In July, actual combat exercises will follow. Tung Chih-hsing, head of the ministry's joint combat planning department, emphasized the need to prepare for the possibility of China's drills turning into real attacks, a concern among military planners due to their frequency.

The drills will focus on coordinating responses across different branches of the armed forces to counter Chinese blockades effectively. Integration of naval, air, and coast guard forces, along with the use of shore-mounted weapons and drones, will establish a maritime defense strategy.

Additionally, escort operations by naval, air, and coast guard units will ensure open sea and air links with the outside world remain intact. The exercises will draw lessons from recent conflicts, including Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the war in Gaza, to enhance Taiwan's defensive capabilities.

President Tsai Ing-wen has advocated for asymmetric warfare tactics to make Taiwan's smaller military more agile and resilient against potential threats. This approach includes deploying vehicle-mounted missiles and drones to enhance mobility and deterrence. As Taiwan braces for potential challenges, it remains committed to safeguarding its sovereignty and security against external pressures.

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