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Taiwan’s military conducts drills to enhance combat readiness during the Spring Festival, including simulated street fighting


A screenshot from the video shows Taiwanese soldiers preparing to enter a building during an urban street fighting exercise in the southern city of Kaohsiung on January 6, 2022.  (Associated Press)
A screenshot from the video shows Taiwanese soldiers preparing to enter a building during an urban street fighting exercise in the southern city of Kaohsiung on January 6, 2022. (Associated Press)

Facing a growing military threat from Beijing, Taiwan’s military on Thursday (Jan 6) staged a mock street battle involving infantry and armored vehicles in the southern city of Kaohsiung. Meanwhile, the Taiwan Air Force will conduct three-day drills at the Chiayi base starting Wednesday to demonstrate air force strength and combat readiness during the Spring Festival.

Soldiers from two platoons faced off in a mock battle on Thursday, firing at each other from houses and sandbag barricades. Armored vehicles zip through barricades on Sim City streets adorned with drugstore and beer brands.

Urban warfare has become an increasingly important training subject for the Taiwanese military. Most of Taiwan’s 23 million people live in cities.

“In the future, the battlefields of Taiwan and Penghu defense operations will definitely take place in cities and towns,” an instructor surnamed Yang of the Army Infantry School told the media.

He said: “According to the combat process of the communist army, from the beginning of the attack, the communist army is bound to land in the coastal city, then enter the deep town, and finally reach our entire mountain village.”

Rolling mountains, variable weather, and limited beach landings make invading Taiwan a daunting challenge for any military.

For decades, analysts largely agreed that China was simply unable to achieve that goal, but Beijing has significantly narrowed the gap in recent years.

Beijing’s intimidation of force against Taiwan has grown significantly under Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xi Jinping, the most authoritarian leader in a generation, is not afraid to display China’s geopolitical power.

The invasion of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone by Chinese warplanes has reached an all-time high. A database compiled by AFP showed that Taiwan recorded about 970 scrambled Chinese military planes last year, more than double the about 380 in 2020.

China has also announced several military exercises simulating an invasion of Taiwan.

Last month, the People’s Liberation Army deployed hundreds of soldiers and dozens of tanks in a mock street battle to seize Taiwan, according to the official China Central Television.

A team representing the People’s Liberation Army took the city in less than three hours after clearing mines, roadblocks and other obstacles set up by opposing teams, the report said.

A day before the Taiwan Army’s street fighting drills in Kaohsiung, the Taiwan Air Force began a three-day Spring Festival training exercise on Wednesday to rehearse F-16V fighter jet scrambles and runway assembly operations commonly known as “elephant walks” at the Chiayi base. and other subjects, and displayed a joint helmet aiming system worth up to NT$10 million.

The air force at the Chiayi base is tasked with alerting and driving away PLA military aircraft that are intruding on Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone.

In her 2022 New Year’s speech, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen reminded Beijing to prevent “internal military adventurism” and said that military is not an option to resolve cross-strait differences, and both sides of the strait should jointly shoulder the responsibility for regional peace and stability. Beijing responded with a stern warning, saying it would lead to “deep disaster” if Taiwan breached the red line.

(This article is based on an AFP report.)

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