TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The annual Wan An exercise (萬安演習), a drill simulating an air attack by Chinese military forces, went off without a hitch today in northern Taiwan.
The drill, code-named Wan An No. 40, was held between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. in Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Yilan, Hsinchu, and Keelung.
The first Wan An drill was held in 1978 after Chiang Ching-kuo had been elected president by the National Assembly. Due to increased concerns over Taiwan's safety after being removed from the UN in 1971, Chiang initiated an air raid preparedness drill for citizens to "prepare for danger in times of peace" and dubbed it the "Mega Peace Exercise" (萬安演習).
Intersection of Xinyi Road and Jinshan South Road.
The drill has continued for nearly 40 years now and as tensions with China have ratcheted up since President Tsai Ing-wen's election and with 1,000 missiles pointed at Taiwan from China, the drills seem more relevant than ever.
In compliance with the National Defense Act and provisions of the National Defense Mobilization Preparation Act, the Wan An exercises are mainly meant to verify the mobile combat capabilities, and evacuate the streets to allow for traffic controls and air-raid siren tests to enhance the national emergency response capabilities.
Looking out to the west on Xinyi road.
Article 21 of the Civil Defense Act stipulates that in order to reduce damage from air strikes, the Ministry of Defense, may, in conjunction with relevant authorities, implement air defense exercises, evacuate civilians from the street, and traffic control and air raid sirens. Pedestrians and motorists who fail to follow instructions and clear the streets during the half hour exercise are subject to fines of NT$30,000 to NT$150,000 under Article 25 of the Civil Defense Act.
Recently many have been punished for failing to follow the regulations of the exercise. On April 13, during the Wan An exercise in central Taiwan a woman in Taichung was fined NT$30,000 for shaking her head and strutting down the street like it was her own catwalk.
Time lapse version