Taiwan to launch 'airstrike alarm' system amid growing threat from China

The vaunted warning system is inspired by Japan's J-Alert, according to an Upmedia report

The photo shows Japan's J-ALERT system.

The photo shows Japan's J-ALERT system. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - In response to China's growing military might and Beijing's threats to challenge the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan's military is said to be planning upgrades to the existing nationwide warning system to alert Taiwanese phone users to receive a text whenever the threat of an air strike occurs.

The new alert system is scheduled to undergo several tests across the country during the annual month-long Wan An air defense drill (萬安演習), an exercise that simulates an air attack by Chinese military forces, and which will start in late May.

According to an earlier report, the drill will be held in Central Taiwan on May 29, followed by one in Northern Taiwan on June 5, Southern Taiwan on June 7, Eastern Taiwan on June 12, Matsu on June 14, Kinmen on June 21, and Penghu on June 26.

People familiar with the matter told Upmedia on Sunday that an airstrike alarm will be added to the existing warning system, which will be able to quickly inform the public of various threats in hopes that early warnings would speed up evacuation times and help coordinate emergency response.

Inspired by Japan's nationwide warning system J-Alert, Taiwan's self-developed alert system was initially introduced by the National Security Council in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, and has been messaging phone users in the event of major quakes since May, 2016.

People familiar with the matter told Upmedia that the design team of the country's air strike alert has been consulting with the Japanese experts behind the J-Alert system.

Recognizing there is a lack of public knowledge about shelter sites and evacuation measures, the council reportedly aims to include such necessary information as a part of the air strike alert messaging system following its official launch.