War scenario: Taiwan conducts air drills, urban warfare simulation amid China tensions

Before takeoff, Taiwan Air Force flight crews at a base in the southern city of Chiayi rushed to ready their aircraft as an alarm sounded.

Air drills aimed at China

Taiwan Air Force jets screamed into the sky in a drill simulating a war scenario showing its combat readiness amid heightened military tensions with China, which claims the island as its own.

Before takeoff, flight crews at a base in the southern city of Chiayi - home to US-made F-16 fighter jets that are frequently scrambled to intercept Chinese warplanes - rushed to ready aircraft as an alarm sounded.


Taiwan's battle readiness

The exercises were part of a three-day drill to show Taiwan's battle readiness ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of this month.

Tensions across the sensitive Taiwan Strait have been rising in the past few years, with Taiwan complaining of repeated missions by China's Air Force near the democratic island.


'High frequency of Communist planes entering our ADIZ'

Chinese military aircraft frequently fly into the southwestern part of its air defence identification zone (ADIZ), airspace around the island that Taiwan monitors and patrols.

"With the very high frequency of Communist planes entering our ADIZ, pilots from our wing are very experienced and have dealt with almost all types of their aircraft," Major Yen Hsiang-sheng said recalling a mission in which he was dispatched to intercept Chinese J-16 fighters late last year.


China's 'grey zone' warfare

China has not ruled out using force to bring Taiwan under its control.

Taiwan has termed China's activities as "grey zone" warfare, designed to both wear out Taiwan's forces by making them repeatedly scramble, and also to test its responses.


'Profound catastrophe'

In a new year message for China last week, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said military conflict is not the answer.

Beijing responded with a stern warning that if Taiwan crossed any red line it would lead to "profound catastrophe".


Taiwanese soldiers take part in drill at an army base

Members of Taiwan's Army infantry training command simulated an "urban warfare confrontation" during an exercise in the southern city of Kaohsiung on Thursday.

At the drill, a team brandishing red flags was tasked with attacking a city defended by another team with blue flags.

Loud bangs were heard and rising smoke was seen during the exercise.




'Beijing should stop spread of military adventurism'

Taiwan's president last weekend had urged China to curb its "military adventurism" with tensions between the two sides at their highest level in years.

Beijing has ramped up military and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016, as she rejects the stance that the island is Chinese territory.

Chinese warplanes have made a historically high number of incursions into Taiwan's air defence zone in recent months. The authorities in Beijing "should stop the spread of military adventurism within their ranks", Tsai said in her New Year speech.


Taiwan's military tension with China

Taiwan's defence ministry had warned in October last year that military tensions with China were at their highest in four decades after a record number of Chinese jets entered its air defence zone.

Beijing has also stepped up efforts in recent years to isolate Taiwan on the international stage.

It regards any formal declaration of an "independent" Taiwan as a provocation and has repeatedly threatened consequences for countries that support Taipei in its self-determination. Beijing has encouraged Taiwan's dwindling diplomatic allies to switch sides.


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