Taiwan starts annual war games despite warming ties with China
Taiwan on Monday kicked off the first phase of its annual Han Kuang war games, which simulate an attack by China, despite warming relations with Beijing, reported dpa.
The first phase of the war games is computer-simulated and lasts five days with a scenario that Taiwan takes losses to its air and naval forces after being attacked by China, National Defence Ministry sources said.
President Ma Ying-jeou is to take part in the fourth day of the exercises Thursday for the first time as the commander-in-chief after taking office in May, the sources said.
Ministry spokeswoman Lisa Chi confirmed the first phase of the war games would last five days but declined to give details.
Military sources said that in the rehearsal earlier this month, Taiwan's Sword Dragon conventional submarine was sunk for the first time by a powerful Chinese naval force in less than 30 minutes after the computer-simulated war game had started. In last year's similar drill, none of Taiwan's four conventional submarines were damaged.
The war games were being held amid warming relations between Taiwan and China, which have been bitter rivals since they split at the end of a civil war in 1949.
Cross-strait relations have improved since China-friendly Ma became president. Earlier this month, the two sides signed two landmark agreements to operate direct cross-strait charter flights during the weekends and allow holiday visits in Taiwan by Chinese tourists.
The second phase of the war games - a live-fire one - is to be held September 22-26 in southern, central, northern and eastern Taiwan, the sources said.