Taiwan holds live-fire drills as China invasion fears surge

Taiwan’s army has conducted a massive monthly live-fire exercise amid mounting regional tensions ahead of a feared invasion by China. The island’s Defense Command oversaw the ‘Chen Chiang’ drills on Wednesday morning with the troops deployed using weapons to shoot at targets in various scenarios to maintain combat readiness.

The exercise began with the firing of flares from M114 and M101 howitzers and 120 mm mortars.

Troops then fired machine guns, subsequently, tanks attacked the beach and destroyed the simulated enemy force.

Finally, troops carried out a counterattack operation to prevent the simulated enemy from reaching the beach.

The Penghu Defense Command has declared that its units will remain dedicated to carrying out their missions and adhering to the principles of “being prepared for war but not actively seeking it” and “responding to conflict rather than avoiding it.”

According to Taiwan’s Foreign Minister, Joseph Wu, the island is making significant investments in its defense capabilities to counter the serious threat posed by the Chinese military.

While Taiwan is preparing for a possible attack at any time, Minister Wu has highlighted 2027 as a year of particular concern.

This is because China aims to be fully prepared for a military invasion by that year.

Mr Wu told Andrew Marr on LBC: “We are taking the Chinese military threat very seriously. And that is the reason why we make more investment in our own defence capabilities.

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“But we have not been focusing on one timeline only, for example, and other people are talking about 2025. Some people talk about 2027.

“Some people talk about 2035, and etc. We take all kinds of assessment in a very serious way. And what we want to be prepared for is no matter when the Chinese are going to launch its military attack against Taiwan, we are prepared.

“But I think 2027 is the year that we need to be serious about.”

He explained that President Xi Jinping may want to initiate a crisis against Taiwan to show his ability and desire to take action for China’s unification, potentially driven by domestic problems such as a slowing economy, financial instability, and discontent resulting from COVID lockdowns.

Mr Wu said: “First is that China has already announced that it’s going to be militarily ready by year 2027. And that is also going to be the year that Xi Jinping will go into his fourth term.

“And if Xi Jinping is not able to tell the Chinese people that he has accomplished anything in the first second, and the third term, he might want to initiate a crisis against Taiwan, to show to the Chinese people that he has the desire and ability and taking actions against Taiwan for China’s unification.

“So, this is what we are looking at…”

“If they have domestic problems, they might create external crisis to divest, to divert the domestic attention. And if you look the Chinese economy is slowing down. And people are not happy.”

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