Taipei: Taiwan’s military on Thursday staged extensive anti-aircraft landing and airport defence drills as part of the island’s largest ever wargames, the defence ministry and television stations said. Broadcast images showed eight heavily laden F-16 fighters strafing marked targets with rockets and bombs 10 kilometres (six miles) off the coast in southern Pingtung county, in a simulated amphibious attack by rival China.br /The drill came on the fourth day of a five-day live-firing exercise, codenamed “Han Kuang 23”.br /Fast boats fired ship-to-ship missiles at the floating targets in a test aimed at improving Taiwan’s ability to “destroy the enemy before they can land on beaches,” a defence ministry official said.br /Super Cobra attack helicopters also launched rockets while tanks and artillery lobbed a volley of shells to stop the mock enemy from landing.br /Separately, Taiwanese forces practiced defensive measures at the eastern Chiashan military airport, where huge tunnels dug into a mountain are designed to protect dozens of jets from intensive bombing should war break out in the Taiwan Strait, the defence ministry said.br /Military personnel also demonstrated their engineering skills in “repairing” airstrips damaged by Chinese missile attacks, it said.br /A computerised drill last month showed the island was vulnerable to air attacks from its dominant neighbour due to a shortage of anti-missile weaponry, Taiwan’s defence ministry said.br /In another operation on Thursday, a fleet of tanks and hundreds of troops were mobilised to “wipe out” Chinese paratroopers in Huko, northern Taiwan. However, an airborne attack by fighters was called off due to torrential downpours.br /The five-day exercise was overshadowed by a crash during rehearsals last week which killed two pilots on board a F-5F fighter and two Singaporean servicemen on the ground. Nine more Singaporean soldiers were wounded.br /More than 120,000 soldiers and 23,000 reservists were to be mobilised during what defense ministry Major General Wu Chi-fang described as Taiwan’s “biggest and most extensive” wargames.br /China has repeatedly threatened to invade self-governing Taiwan should the island declare formal independence.br /It regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, since the nations split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.br /Tensions between Taipei and Beijing have escalated since independence-leaning Chen Shui-bian was elected president in 2000. He was narrowly re-elected in 2004.