Han Kuang live-fire drills to focus on defense of Taipei Port

The live-fire component of Taiwan's annual Han Kuang military exercises is scheduled to start on July 25 and last until July 29, with the main focus to be the protection of Taipei Port against an attack by China, a Taiwan military officer said Sunday.

Taipei Port, on Taiwan's north coast, and the nearby Tamsui River estuary are important strongholds for the defense of Taiwan's political and economic hub, said the military officer who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak.

If the river is captured by invading Chinese forces, they can bring in military equipment through the port, the military officer told CNA.

The live-fire drills will simulate Taipei Port in Bali District in New Taipei being attacked by Chinese helicopters and fighter-bombers, as well as a joint counterattack operation conducted by the Republic of China's (Taiwan's official name) armed forces, the military source said.

Another military source said recently that the mouth of Tamsui River is 8 kilometers from Guandu Bridge and is also quite close to the Presidential Office and other political and economic landmarks, so if the armed forces fail to hold the line at the river mouth, this would enable an invading force to advance into northern Taiwan.

As a result, blowing up Guandu Bridge, which links Bali and Tamsui districts, has been one of the simulation scenarios in the annual military exercises over the past few years, according to the military source.

The annual exercises are intended to improve the armed forces' capabilities to fight asymmetric, cognitive, information, and electronic warfare, and mobilize reserve forces as well as enhance overall defense readiness by incorporating civilians, according to Major General Lin Wen-huang (???), who is in charge of combat and planning affairs at the Ministry of National Defense.

The live-fire exercises will also focus on eliminating invading forces at sea and along the coastline, by integrating the three branches of the armed forces and deploying a wide array of weapon systems and equipment, Lin said at a press event in May.

The Han Kuang exercises, first held in 1984, are Taiwan's most important military drills that include all branches of the armed forces, with the aim of testing the country's combat readiness in the event of an attack by China.

This year's tabletop wargames phase, the first of the two-part annual Han Kuang exercises, took place between May 16 and May 20.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel