Large-scale military exercises are being held in Taiwan as tensions with China rise.

A foreign adversary makes an effort to take control of a vital canal close to the Taiwanese capital in simulated circumstances.

Taiwan as tensions with China rise

Taipei port, Taiwan (CNN) 0538 July 28, 2022-  A foreign adversary makes an effort to take control of a vital canal close to the Taiwanese capital in simulated circumstances. Attacking from the sea and the air, the invading troops aim for the important estuary at the mouth of the Tamsui River on the island's northern shore, which offers easy access to Taipei. Taiwan's military deploys Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) planes, tanks, and ground forces to block the advance in retaliation.

The events are a part of the weeklong Han Kuang activities that are held until Friday throughout Taiwan and its neighboring islands. The exercises have gained significance this year amid growing worries about China's intentions toward Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing's ruling Communist Party claims as its own. The annual event taking place since 1984, involves all branches of Taiwan's military including its reserve forces, to improve overall defense capabilities.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has increased these worries. Beijing has not ruled out using military force to annex Taiwan, and it has been increasing the island's military vulnerability by deploying aircraft into what it calls its "air defense identification zone." Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House, is reportedly considering visiting Taipei. Beijing has responded angrily to these allegations, saying that if it encounters "foreign forces" that support Taiwanese independence, it would "resolutely safeguard national sovereignty."

A week-long military exercise

The 24 million-person island of Taiwan, which is governed democratically, has the largest annual live-fire drills of its kind each year during the Han Kuang exercises. Tuesday the island's military practice witnessed an assault on the Su'ao Naval Base, a significant naval port in northeastern Taiwan, with its personnel acting as both the attacker and the defense. 

For two hours, guided-missile destroyers fired cannon, missiles, and torpedoes at an imagined fleet coming down on the coast while Mirage 2000 and F-16 pilots rushed to intercept warplanes invading from the east. Tsai told the troops later that the exercises show "the competence and determination of our military in protecting our country."

The Chinese military will probably be among those paying close attention to how the exercises proceed. According to a flight route published by the Japanese Defense Ministry on Monday, a Chinese combat and reconnaissance drone went via the Miyako Strait before lingering in the area near Taiwan's eastern coast. The demonstrations are also intended to train locals on how to react if Taiwan is attacked. Traffic in Taipei was stopped for 30 minutes on Monday afternoon as citizens sought cover from the city's air raid sirens. For the rest of the week, Taiwan will host a similar session. According to the Taipei City administration, the air raid drills aimed to inform the populace of were bomb shelters were "in the case of conflict."

A growing threat from China

The island is being subjected to increasing military pressure from Beijing, as both the US and Taiwan have warned. The frequency with which China has sent its military aircraft into Taiwan's self-declared air defense identification zone, including 56 aircraft in a single day in October, is one indication of this. Taiwan has been forced to respond by deploying air defense missile systems, scrambling combat aircraft, and issuing radio warnings.

China may be able to launch a "full-scale" invasion by 2025, according to Taiwan's defense minister Chiu Kuo-cheng, who also noted that cross-strait military tensions are at their "most dangerous" level in the more than 40 years since he entered the military. Since then, questions about Beijing's intentions have grown as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and China's failure to denounce Moscow's activities. China has reportedly been closely examining Russia's invasion of Ukraine according to CIA Director Bill Burns, to determine "how and when" it may decide to invade Taiwan. Burns cautioned, "I wouldn't underestimate President Xi's willingness to impose China's rule."



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