Armed with a helmet and flak jacket, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen watched Thursday as her forces repelled a notional Chinese island assault as part of Taiwan’s annual military exercises.
The force-wide training comes on the heels of perceived Chinese aggression from just over the Taiwan Strait, with Taiwanese officials ensuring the adequate preparation and constructing of a plethora of well-planned counterattack policies to serve the nation of Taiwan in the ever-growing chance that China makes strategic moves to claim Taiwan by force.
Many in the region are concerned with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, and what military forces he may bring to bear for countries not compliant with his infrastructure proposals.
Retired Air Force Col. and author Robert Maness said the war games are not really too far out of the ordinary.
“It doesn’t surprise me that Taiwan would conduct these types of training scenarios in the Taiwan Strait,” he said. “Both the U.S. and Taiwan see this as the most logical course of action if there were to be some type of attack from across the Strait, so to train and be prepared for a likely situation is only logical.”
“Do I think that China could put a military presence in the Straits to enforce the Belt and Road? I think they could,” he added. “I just don’t think it’s very probable at this point in time.”
The drills featured combined branch exercises between Taiwan’s Army, Navy and Air Force.
Ground troops used shoulder fire weapons to detect and deter enemy forces as warships loomed offshore.