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Armed Forces holding military exercises defending Taiwan's east coast

The cross-branch Tian Long Exercises to include live fire, with a zone of operations covering 3/4 of Taiwan's East Coast

Air Force Commander Chang Che-ping opens the 2018 Tian Long Exercises (Image from MNA)

Air Force Commander Chang Che-ping opens the 2018 Tian Long Exercises (Image from MNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) –Joint-drills between all branches of Tawian’s Armed Forces are being held this week along Taiwan’s Pacific Coast, having begun on Sept. 10.

Given the quickly expanding range of Chinese naval operations into the Pacific, and their increasingly common circumnavigation drills of Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense is bolstering defensive capability on Taiwan’s Pacific shores.

The commander of the Air Force Chang Che-ping (張哲平) opened the “Tian Long exercises” (天龍操演) on the morning of Sept. 4 at Jiashan Air Force Base (空軍佳山基地), and exhorted the troops to practice safety over the coming days, reports CNA.

The exercises will be conducted over a zone that covers nearly 3/4 of Taiwan’s eastern seaboard, and will reportedly include use of the live ammunition for certain drills.

The exercises will simulate a situation where a Chinese vessel circumnavigating Taiwan launches an attack on the eastern shore. Taiwan’s Air Force will run tactical flights from west coast bases to the east coast to train for defensive operations in Yilan, Hualien and Taitung.

Troops will also simulate the rescue of pilots from aircraft that are downed in combat, reports Asia Times.

Given that most of Taiwan’s troops and defense infrastructure have been situated on the east coast, the goal of this week’s exercises are to fortify the country from a possible “attack from the strategic rear” while further enhancing cooperation between military branches.

The Navy, Cost Guard, Air Force, and Army will have contingents participating in the exercises.