• Taiwan military conducts annual exercise

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    BIG GUNS  In this photo provided by the Military News Agency, ROC (Republic of China) army artillery batteries open fire in Hsinchu County on September 4 as part of preparations for Taiwan’s annual Han Kuang military exercises.

    BIG GUNS
    In this photo provided by the Military News Agency, ROC (Republic of China) army artillery batteries open fire in Hsinchu County on September 4 as part of preparations for Taiwan’s annual Han Kuang military exercises.

    TAIPEI: Taiwan on Monday launched its annual Han Kuang military exercises in multiple locations around the island nation, putting its defense capabilities to the test just days after China staged a massive military display in commemoration of the end of World War II.

    According to a statement by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a total of 63 drills including aircraft and vessel deployment, joint combat operations, personnel training, and war games were scheduled for the five-day exercise, which ends Friday.

    Maj. Gen. Zhong Shu-ming, director of the Ministry of National Defense’s Joint Operation Division, said the 31st edition of the exercises is the biggest in recent years.

    “Featuring six additional drills by the air force and five by the navy, this year’s Han Kuang boasts 69 new aircraft and an impressive lineup of next-generation weapon systems,” General Zhong said, including the Cloud Leopard armored vehicle, the stealth naval corvette Tuo Jiang, and Taiwanese-made unmanned aerial vehicles.

    Highlights of the first day of the exercise included a special operations drill in the outlying county of Kinmen by the army’s elite amphibious reconnaissance battalion, while joint landings by the marines and navy took place in southern Taiwan’s Pingtung County, the Foreign Ministry said.

    Live-fire drills will be conducted today (September 10) with an anti-amphibious landing exercise in northern Hsinchu County and an anti-airborne landing defense in central Taiwan’s Taichung City, with President Ma Ying-jeou overseeing the operations in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

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