Taiwan has held five-day annual military exercises that prepared for a full-scale invasion by China, including response biological and chemical warfare.
The live-fire portion of Han Kuang exercise kicked off early Monday morning in eastern Taiwan, an area China considers a weak link, Nikkei Asia reported.
F-16V and Mirage 2000 fighter jets were dispatched to simulate a response to an armed invasion.
Taiwan has reported almost daily incursions by Chinese military aircraft in its air defence identification zone.
According to Nikkei Asia, Taipei is responding by pouring money into missiles and other investments that it hopes will help level an uneven playing field.
The Han Kuang exercise, held every year since 1984, spans Taiwan’s main island as well as outlying islands, incorporating ground, sea and air forces. It envisions a wide range of avenues of potential attack — not only missiles but also landing operations, electronic warfare, cyberattacks and bioweapons.
In the southern city of Tainan, a biological agent containment exercise was held in response to a mock assault where troops were attacked by bioweapons.
Soldiers were promptly sent to nearby hospitals to be treated by civilian doctors, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported. The military also rehearsed its procedures for the decontamination of vehicles and equipment during the Tainan drill.
Since mid-September of last year, Beijing has stepped up its grey-zone tactics by regularly sending planes into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with most instances occurring in the southwest corner of the zone and usually consisting of one to three slow-flying turboprop planes.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that “Taiwan’s independence” means war.
On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to complete reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to smash any attempts at formal independence for the island.