TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Wednesday, Jan. 9, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced that it was in the process of updating the military’s drill schedule and the scope of exercises in 2019 to increase combat readiness to counter possible attacks from China.
In response to Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s renewed declaration that China is willing to use force to invade Taiwan, Taiwan’s Major General Yeh Kuo-hui (葉國輝), chief of the MND's Operations and Planning Division, announced the new 2019 plan on Wednesday.
The year’s drill schedule is divided into four quarters, with each focusing on a different component of Taiwan’s total defensive strategy.
The first quarter will highlight combat readiness training, and the second will include the annual month-long cross-branch Han-Kuang military exercises. In the third quarter of 2019, the MND will organize a series of operations aimed at denying coastal invasions, and in the fourth will feature a series of defensive anti-aircraft exercises, reports CNA.
The MND announced that the military was modifying certain planned exercises to incorporate new tactics, recently drafted to repulse a possible invasion from across the Taiwan Strait.
Business Insider notes that China’s military carried out over 18,000 military drills last year, with a large concentration of them near Taiwan’s territory, including naval drills, and aerial encirclement campaigns by the PLA Air Force.
In December last year, the MND revealed that what had previously been an “irregular” amount of Chinese military drills near Taiwan, had become “routine” for the Taiwanese military in 2018.
A year previous in December 2017, the MND ceased publishing information on every incursion of Chinese air craft or naval vessels, which has limited public data on the frequency of Chinese operations.
In recent years, Taiwan’s military has expanded what it considers to be the country’s vital defensive line, from the beaches of certain key landing zones, farther past shore to a continuous perimeter around Taiwan’s coasts.
"We want to assure citizens that the military is constantly beefing up its combat preparedness and stands ready to fight,” CNA quoted Yeh.