TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwanese fighter jets landed on a makeshift runway on a freeway strip on Wednesday overseen by President Tsai Ing-wen as annual drills reached their peak, abilities that may be wanted within the occasion China assaults and targets Taiwan’s susceptible air bases.
China has been ramping up its army strain towards the island it claims as “sacred” Chinese territory, hoping to power the democratically elected authorities to just accept Beijing’s sovereignty, together with with repeated workout routines close to Taiwan.
Tsai, re-elected by a landslide final yr on a pledge to face as much as China, has made modernising Taiwan’s primarily U.S.-equipped army a precedence, turning it right into a “porcupine”, each extremely mobile and exhausting to assault.
Three fighters – an F-16, French-made Mirage and a Ching-kuo Indigenous Defence Fighter – plus an E-2 Hawkeye early warning plane landed in rural southern Pingtung county on a freeway strip specifically designed to be straight and flat for speedy conversion from a street right into a runway.
Taiwan has 5 emergency freeway runways throughout the island which could be pressed into service within the occasion a Chinese assault takes out air power bases, which means the air power will nonetheless be capable to function.
Political Cartoons on World Leaders
The majority of Taiwan’s air bases are on its flat west coast, dealing with China, and would seemingly come below nearly instant heavy missile and aerial bombardment in case of warfare.
Taiwan’s mountainous east coast is house to 2 different air bases, with hangers hewn deep into the rock, offering far more stable safety.
The week-long Han Kuang drills are going down round Taiwan, with different workout routines to practise repelling a Chinese invasion, defending important infrastructure and evening operations, although the freeway drills are essentially the most dramatic.
Taiwan’s air power scrambles on an nearly every day foundation to intercept Chinese plane that fly into the island’s air defence zone, principally near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands on the high a part of the South China Sea.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Stephen Coates)
Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.