Taiwan announced Tuesday that it will stage its largest annual war games in mid-September, simulating a Chinese attack as tensions are soaring in the region. The live-fire drills, known as the Han Kuang military exercise, will involve all branches of Taiwan’s military.
The war games will be held on the island of Taiwan and offshore with simultaneous land, sea, and air exercises. According to The South China Morning Post, warplanes will for the first time test emergency take-offs and landings on a strip of highway in Pingtung, which is located in southern Taiwan and is designated as a wartime runway. Taiwan has four other emergency runways on a freeway that have previously been tested.
“A test of emergency take-offs and landings of fighter jets on the Jiadong wartime runway — a major element of the exercise — will be conducted as planned,” said Maj. Gen. Lin Wen-huang. The drills will simulate an event where Taiwan’s military and civilian runways are damaged by enemy fire.
The exercises will be held for five days starting September 13th and will be held following massive military drills being held in the western Pacific by the US and its allies. China is preparing for its own drills in the South China Sea that will begin later this week.
The Biden administration recently approved its first arms sale for Taiwan, moving forward a deal for $750 million worth of howitzers and related equipment. President Biden has kept up monthly warship transits through the Taiwan Strait, sailing seven US Navy destroyers through the sensitive waterway since coming into office. Besides the military support, the Biden administration has also taken steps to boost diplomatic ties with Taipei, picking up where the previous administration left off.