Taiwanese troops using tanks, mortars and small arms staged a drill Tuesday aimed at repelling an attack from China, which has increased its threats to reclaim the island and its own displays of military might.
“No matter what is happening around the Taiwan Strait, our determination to guard our homeland will never change,” said Maj. Gen. Chen Chong-ji said, director of the department of political warfare, about the exercise at Hukou Army Base south of the capital Taipei.
Chen said the exercise was intended as a show of Taiwan’s determination to maintain peace between the sides through a show of force. The drills are also meant to reassure the public the military is maintaining its guard ahead of next month’s Lunar New Year festival, when many troops take leave.
Hukou base lies in Hsinchu county, a center for Taiwan’s high-tech industries that have thrived despite the constant threats of invasion by China, which considers the self-governing island democracy part of its own territory to be conquered by force if necessary.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has sought to bolster the island’s defenses with the purchase of billions of dollars in weapons from key ally the US, including upgraded F-16 fighter jets