Taiwan tests air defences in early morning missile drills

Taiwan tests air defences in early morning missile drills
# 26 March 2024 08:34 (UTC +04:00)

Taiwan tested its air defences on Tuesday in early morning drills using surface-to-air missiles, and air, land and naval forces, saying it would continue to intensify training in the face of China's frequent military activities nearby, APA reports.

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained over the past four years of repeated instances of Chinese air force aircraft and navy ships operating close to and around the island.

Taiwan's air force command said in a brief statement that between 5 a.m. (2100 GMT) and 7 a.m. it had carried out "overall air defence combat plan exercises" using domestically made Sky Bow and U.S.-made Patriot surface-to-air missiles in conjunction with aircraft and navy ships.

The drills were "to inspect and verify the joint air defence combat command and control of the three branches", it said, adding that the outcome was "good".

"In the face of Chinese aircraft and ships frequently encroaching into Taiwan's surrounding sea and air space, the air force will continue to increase its training intensity to deal with potential threats," the air force said.

Speaking in Suao on Taiwan's east coast, home to a major navy base, defence ministry spokesperson Sun Li-fang said that although there was no direct link between what he called routine annual drills such as these and current tensions, the threat from China was continuing to rise.

"How to increase our overall military capabilities is very important," he told reporters.

Taiwan's government rejects China's territorial claims, saying only the island's people can decide their future.