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Taiwan to begin joint military exercise


Taiwan to begin joint military exercise

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Photo: Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan/HANDOUT via REUTERS

Taiwan will launch its 36th annual Han Kuang military exercises from today until June 17. The drills test Taiwanese armed forces’ ability to respond to a potential Chinese invasion.

This year’s training manoeuvres will feature independent operations from the island’s army, air force and navy. The exercises will also focus on joint battalion training, marking an effort by Taipei to move towards improved interoperability among the three branches—mirroring the example of other nations, such as the US.

After multiple Taiwanese soldiers died in last week’s preparations for the exercises, the decision to proceed highlights Taiwan’s continued commitment to presenting a defensive front against an expansionist Beijing. China has sought visibly to strengthen its grip over disputed territories this summer, notably through new national security legislation criminalising “subversion” and foreign interference in Hong Kong.

To buffer against Beijing’s aggression, expect Taipei to increase cooperation with unofficial allies, including the US, which has already approved two arms sales to the island this year. Recent plans by Taiwanese computer chip maker TSMC to shift its supply chain to the US by building a chip factory in Arizona could also threaten China’s role in global manufacturing—and aggravate already sensitive US-China trade relations.

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