Taiwan Holds Military Drill As China Heightens Threats

Taiwan Holds Military Drill As China Heightens Threats
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Taiwan’s army conducted another live-fire practise yesterday after Beijing called off its largest-ever military drills around the island and its repeated threats to seize control of the self-ruled democracy. 

Beijing has expressed anger at US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s travel to Taiwan last week. Pelosi was the highest-ranking elected American official to visit Taiwan in decades. Days of air and sea drills were held as a result, escalating tensions to their highest level in years.

China has been accused by Taiwan of starting drills so that it may practise an invasion using the visit of Pelosi as an excuse.

Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for Taiwan’s Eighth Army Corps, told AFP its forces fired howitzers and target flares as part of the defensive drill on Thursday.

Read Also: We Will No Longer Tolerate Taiwan ‘Separatists’, China Warns

The exercise in Taiwan’s southernmost county Pingtung began at 08:30 am (0030 GMT) and lasted about an hour, he said.

Artillery tucked in from the coast was lined up side by side, with armed soldiers in units firing the howitzers out to sea one after the other, a live stream showed.

Taiwan held a similar drill on Tuesday in Pingtung. Both involved hundreds of troops, the military said.

The military has played down the exercises’ significance, saying they were already scheduled and were not in response to China’s war games.

‘We have two goals for the drills, the first is to certify the proper condition of the artillery and their maintenance condition and the second is to confirm the results of last year,’ Lou said, referring to annual drills.

Taiwan routinely stages military drills simulating defence against a Chinese invasion.

On Thursday, Taipei’s army said it detected 21 Chinese planes and six ships operating in the Taiwan Strait, without specifying if they were conducting operations.

Of those, 11 planes crossed the median line, an unofficial demarcation between China and Taiwan that Beijing does not recognise.

Africa Daily News, New York

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