Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Taiwan’s military has conducted a series of drills on the self-ruled island, amid persisting tensions with China.
The drills, held annually under the name of Han Kuang, were carried out in the central city of Taichung on Thursday.
Taiwan simulated repelling the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) forces and used civilian-operated drones for the first time during the military exercise.
Reports said more than 4,000 personnel and over 1,500 pieces of equipment had been deployed in the drills.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who has anti-China inclinations and who presided over the drills, said, “As long as our armed forces are around, Taiwan will surely be around.”
“The armed forces will hang in there. I will always support the armed forces,” she added.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s defense ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi announced on Thursday that Taipei was eager to take part in a US-hosted naval drill held every two years in Hawaii in June and July.
The naval drill, known as the Rim of the Pacific exercise (RIMPAC), is billed as the world’s largest international maritime exercise.
The US has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but maintains military ties with it, forwarding advanced military hardware to the self-ruled island.
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, and almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty under a policy known as “One China.”
China and Taiwan split amid a civil war in 1949, and Beijing pursues reunification. Chinese officials have not ruled out the military approach to achieving that goal.
The Chinese military has conducted a series of military maneuvers near the island in recent months. In January, China sailed its aircraft carrier Liaoning through the Taiwan Strait in an unmistakable show of force.
Beijing-Taipei relations have grown tense since Tsai took office in 2016, as she declines to acknowledge that both sides are part of “One China.”
The US, too, follows the “One China” policy of recognizing Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. But it has flirted with the idea of recognizing Taiwan as independent.
US President Donald Trump has in particular been playing up the Taiwan card against China. In March, he signed new rules that would allow senior US officials to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts and vice versa.