|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||May 27, 2017 05:39 AM EDT|
(Photo : ROCAF) Tanks of the Republic of China Army in action at Han Kuang 2017.
For the second time in only nine months, the Republic of China (Taiwan) conducted another massive live-fire military exercise along its western coast facing China depicting the defeat of an amphibious invasion by the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
The "Han Kuang 2017" exercise launched by the Republic of China Armed Forces (ROCAF) and overseen by Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen took place May 24 on the Penghu Islands located off the western coast of Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait.
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The huge live-fire war games involved the major service branches of ROCAF. Infantry, tanks, warships helicopters, armored fighting vehicles and fighter jets from the Republic of China Army, Navy and Air Force working together repelled simulated amphibious attacks by the PLA across the 160 km-wide Taiwan Strait.
The major military drill, the 33rd of its kind, was held to improve coordination among combat units.
Tsai, who wore a camouflage helmet and a flak vest at the drill, said she's also keen on bolstering Taiwan's domestic defense sector and augmenting the number of fighter jets and military vessels. She's made it her priority to strengthen ROCAF so it can confidently repel a Chinese invasion, which Taiwan anticipates might occur before 2020.
"When Taiwan shows its determination to take the road of defensive autonomy, it is putting on a display to the world of our determination to protect our home and land," she said.
In August 2016, Taiwan held its largest military exercise ever in which it defeated a seaborne invasion and aerial assault on the island by Chinese infantry and Special Forces.
The multi-service maneuvers that saw live fire drills conducted at the Joint Operations Training Base Command at Pingtung County in southern Taiwan. The drills ended Aug. 26.
The massive five-day exercise is the largest ever in the ROC's history and also included cyberattack and asymmetric warfare drills. It came at a time of increasingly strained relations with mainland China that keeps piling the pressure on Tsai to take a more pro-Beijing stance, and acknowledge there is only "One China."
The maneuvers are the 32nd edition of the annual Han Kuang military drills that simulate different defense scenarios in the face of a massive Chinese cross-strait attack spearheaded by warships of the People's Liberation Army Navy protecting transports with thousands of invasion troops of the People's Liberation Army Ground Force.
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