Taiwan military still practices “anti-decapitation” drills against China

Special unit exists to prevent Chinese raid targeting president

Military units demonstrating their skills at Tuesday's Double Ten event. (By Central News Agency)

Air Force planes flying over the Presidential Office during Tuesday's Double Ten event. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Ministry of National Defense confirmed Wednesday it still had a unit practicing “anti-decapitation” (反斬首) drills, a description launched more than a decade ago meaning the prevention of an attack on the president, most likely to come from China.

After opposition Democratic Progressive Party candidate Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was elected president in 2000, there were fears that China might launch a surgical attack on the president or his office, trying to abduct or kill him, in effect “beheading” or “decapitating” the government.

Deputy Chief of Staff for Warfare and Planning Lieutenant General Chiang Chen-chung (姜振中) confirmed to lawmakers Wednesday that not only did the special unit set up to prevent “decapitation” still exist, but it had also constantly been upgrading its training.

According to a report in the Chinese-language Apple Daily, Chiang told lawmakers there were no budget problems concerning the unit, and both its equipment and its training level had been improved over the years.

When ruling DPP legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) asked whether Taiwan, following the example of South Korea, also had an active “decapitation” team it could send in against the enemy, Chiang replied the military included an “elite team.”

According to Wang’s statements, during the Chen era, Taiwan’s military had the relevant special units based in Linkou, New Taipei City, and in the Taipei City district of Beitou.