Taiwan military starts live-fire artillery drill

Taiwan military starts live-fire artillery drill

FENGGANG TOWNSHIP, Taiwan - Taiwan military started a live-fire artillery drill Tuesday August 9 that simulates the defence of the island against an attack after days of massive Chinese military exercises, according to an AFP journalist at the site of the exercise.

Lou Woei-jye, a spokesman for Taiwan's Eighth Army Corps, said the drills had started in the southern county of Pingtung shortly after 0040 GMT 8.40 am Singapore time with the firing of target flares and artillery.

He said the drill will end at around 0130 GMT.

China hosted its largest-ever war games around Taiwan last week in a furious response to a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest ranking US official to visit the self-ruled island in decades.

Taiwan lives under the threat of invasion by China, which sees its neighbour as part of Chinese territory, which can be reclaimed by force if necessary.

The army said that the drills taking place on Tuesday and Thursday will include the deployment of hundreds of troops and about 40 howitzers.

Lou said Monday that the drills were already scheduled and were not being held in response to China's exercises.

The island routinely conducts military drills simulating a Chinese invasion and last month practiced repelling attacks from the sea in a joint interception operation as part of its largest annual exercises.