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 /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 /Super Cobra attack helicopters also launched rockets while tanks and artillery lobbed a volley of shells to stop the mock enemy from /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 /Military personnel also demonstrated their engineering skills in “repairing” airstrips damaged by Chinese missile attacks, it /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 /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 /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 /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” /China has repeatedly threatened to invade self-governing Taiwan should the island declare formal /It regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, since the nations split in 1949 at the end of a civil /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.

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